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Mom of 2 tortured, killed and left in hunting cabin was victim of group murder plot: Police

Five people have been criminally charged after an Indiana woman was allegedly tortured and killed last month, the Journal & Courier reports.

The body of the victim, 30-year-old Nicole Bowen of West Lafayette, was discovered March 30 in a hunting cabin near the Iroquois River.

Newton County Prosecutor Jeff Drinski has not released specific details about the torture and killing, but court records show obtained by the news outlet show that five people have been charged in connection with the brutal crime thus far.

Authorities on April 5 charged 21-year-old Garett Kirts with homicide. Drinski told a judge that he intends to seek life without parole, in part because there is evidence that Bowen had been tortured prior to being killed.

Drinski told the Journal & Courier there is suspicion that Bowen was tortured based on the “condition of her body.”

Four others have each been charged with a felony count of assisting a criminal: Christopher Mathis, Jasmine Parker, Ashley Garth and Talitha Beckley.

More serious charges could be filed against all the defendants depending on the results of DNA tests, Drinski said.

All five defendants have been detained and are being kept in the Newton County Jail.

The victim and defendants had been at Parker’s home for a gathering before the killing, according to Drinski. Investigators believe the hunting shack where Bowen was found was several miles from the location where she was killed.

“Motive is unclear at this time,” Drinski told the newspaper earlier this week.

Bowen was the mother of two boys, according to friend Sara Burns.

“She was such an amazing woman. Could always brighten up anyone’s day. Never could hurt anyone. Always smiling, loved singing,” Burns told the newspaper.

“She loved her boys more than anything . . . It’s devastating for all of us that love her and always will. I am in the dark as well as to why what happened, because it doesn’t make any sense to why anyone would want to hurt her.”

[Christopher Mathis; Talitha Beckley/Newton County Sheriff’s Office]