Massachusetts State Police have issued an arrest warrant for Fernando Owens, the father of a Boston homicide victim, for the murder of a 29-year-old New Jersey woman whose body was found burning near train tracks in Bridgewater earlier this month.
According to the Boston Globe, officials say Owens, 43, killed Ashley Bortner “in retaliation” for his son’s death earlier that day.
Owens’ son, 21-year-old Dominic Owens, was shot and killed in Dorchester early on Nov. 2. Police say Fernando Owens was acquainted with Bortner, and he believed she “had a hand in” Dominic’s death, according to a press release from the Plymouth County District Attorney’s office.
Dominic Owens was shot multiple times and killed on Shepton Street in Dorchester at around 12:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Owens, who Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said was known to police and had a “violent criminal record,” also had a young son and was devoted to taking care of his son and his mother.
Hours after Dominic was killed, Fernando Owens was “visibly agitated, paced around, making calls on his cellphone,” according to the Globe.
Investigators say that Bortner was killed later that same day. Bridgewater police received a 911 call at around 11:40 p.m. and responded to a fire on the train tracks, where they found Bortner’s body burning. According to the Plymouth DA’s office:
Her body was burned over 70%, she had been gagged by her own clothing and her face was wrapped with a towel and she was found in a comforter. Bortner’s hands and feet were bound behind her and electrical cord was around her neck.
Investigators say they found evidence at Fernando Owens’ Dorchester home linking him to the murder.
Police seized items from Fernando Owens’ home at 65 Lonsdale Street in Dorchester that link him to the murder, including the same sort of Egyptian cotton bath towel and identical electrical cord found on the victim.
A New Hampshire couple has also been arrested in connection with Bortner’s death. They are being held on bail on those charges.
Fernando Owens is described as 5‘9”, 160 pounds with brown eyes and tattoos on his arms. Officials say he is considered armed and dangerous, and anyone with information on his whereabouts should call State Police at 508-947-8087, or Bridgewater Police at 508-697-6118.