A body found burned and bound next to a Massachusetts railroad track has been identified as a 29-year-old New Jersey woman, officials said.
Police discovered a burning body on the west side of the MBTA railroad tracks at Oak and Crapo Streets in Bridgewater on November 3, Plymouth District Attorney J. Cruz said.
After putting out the fire, police realized Ashley Bortner's hands and feet were tied behind her back, authorities said.
Law enforcement had been responding to a 911 call made around 11:40 p.m. that a suspicious vehicle was parked and two people were seen in that area, the district attorney said.
"State Police Detectives and Bridgewater Police have been actively investigating the case and have determined that this was a targeted act and not random and the public is not believed to be in any danger," the district attorney said in a news release.
Officials said they Bortner was killed at a different location and was then brought to the railroad tracks, where she was burned.
Bortner's murder does not appear to be related to a burned body and car fire that took place in Worcester the following day, officials said.
Family told reporters that Bortner had a 13-year-old son who lived with her mother, whom she had not seen in a few years.
“I just want everyone to know that she was a beautiful young woman and I was blessed to have her for all the years that I did," Bortner's mother, Tamara Pack, told the Boston Herald. "She had a smile that would just knock you off your feet."
Pack told the paper that she has forgiven whomever is responsible for killing her youngest child who once dreamed of becoming an actress.
"My biggest fear was that I didn’t think I could ever handle one of my kids dying, but through God and his grace I have forgiven the person who did this to my baby. I have to forgive him or I wouldn’t be able to go on," Pack told the Herald.
A woman who identified herself as Bortner's sister created a GoFundMe account to offset burial costs and fees to transport the young woman's body back to New Jersey.
"Trying to raise money to bury my baby sister. This is such a tragedy. Shes only 29 yrs old. Never expected to have to bury my little sister so soon," the woman wrote on the site. "Thank you for any help. First we need to get her body home."
The investigation is active and ongoing. Anyone with information is urged to contact State Police Detectives at 508-923-4000.