South Jersey man charged with strangling girlfriend

Murder charges have been filed against a South Jersey man accused of strangling his girlfriend.Camden County prosecutors said bail was set at $750,000 for Joshua Rivera-Santos of Pennsauken. He’s charged in the death of 21-year-old Rebecca Ugarte, whose body was found Tuesday at his mother’s Gloucester Township home.

A possible motive for the slaying has not been disclosed.

A cellphone charger was wrapped around Ugarte’s neck. An autopsy determined she died from blunt force trauma to the neck.

Rivera-Santos’ mother saw Ugarte covered in blankets and lying in the basement on Tuesday morning, but believed she was sleeping, prosecutors said.

When the mother returned home around noon and saw Ugarte was still in the basement, she questioned her son and soon realized Ugarte was dead.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.