Man Captured in Dominican Republic Faces Judge in Massachusetts Murder

A Boston man who was captured in the Dominican Republic faced a judge Thursday in connection with charges that he killed a woman and then left her burning body near train tracks last year.

Fernando Owens, 43, of Boston's Dorchester section, pleaded not guilty to the murder and aggravated kidnapping of 29-year-old Ashley Bortner of New Jersey.

Prosecutors say Owens knew Bortner and believed she had a role in the murder of his son. Authorities also seized evidence linking Owens to Bortner's murder, including a towel and an electrical cord, according to the Suffolk county district attorney.

Owens, who was captured by U.S. and Dominican Republic authorities on March 8, is being held without bail.

Bortner's body was discovered by Bridgewater police last November after they received a 911 call about a fire burning besides MBTA train tracks. More than 70 percent of her body had been burned, and she had been gagged by clothing and her face wrapped with a towel. Her hands and feet were also bounded together behind her, according to authorities.

A New Hampshire couple, Julian and Shannon Squires, have also been charged in connection with Bortner's murder. Police say the Squires were also in Bridgewater around the time of the 911 call and helped Owens kill Bortner and get rid of her body.

Owens' next court appearance is July 15. 

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