Arrest made in the murder of Baltimore tech CEO Pava LaPere

Baltimore police have announced the arrest of a man suspected of killing Pava LaPere, the CEO and founder of the software startup EcoMap Technologies. Jason Dean Billingsley, 32, was captured by the U.S. Marshals Service on Thursday morning after a three-day manhunt.

A brutal killing of a young entrepreneur

LaPere, 26, was reported missing on Monday and was found dead in an apartment building in Baltimore with blunt-force trauma wounds. She was remembered by colleagues and friends as an important part of Baltimore’s small tech scene and a passionate advocate for social impact.

LaPere moved to Baltimore from Tucson, Arizona, to attend Johns Hopkins University. She founded EcoMap Technologies in 2019, a company that aims to improve the accessibility and efficiency of information ecosystems. Its products include chatbots and other resources for businesses and groups.

LaPere was included on Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” list this year. It noted that her company’s clients include Meta and the T. Rowe Price Foundation.

Arrest made in the murder of Baltimore tech CEO Pava LaPere

A violent offender with multiple warrants

Billingsley, a convict who was paroled in October 2020, had been wanted on a first-degree murder warrant in connection with LaPere’s death. He was also linked to an attempted murder, arson and rape that occurred on Sept. 19 in Baltimore.

In that case, police responding to the report of a fire found a man and woman suffering from multiple injuries. They were transported to area hospitals in critical condition. A 5-year-old child was also found on the upper level of the home unharmed.

Billingsley had pleaded guilty to a first-degree sex offense and was sentenced in 2015 to 30 years in prison, with 16 of those years suspended, according to court records.

Police and the U.S. Marshals Service launched a nationwide search for Billingsley, who was considered armed and dangerous. They also announced a $6,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

A relief for the community and a call for justice

The arrest of Billingsley was welcomed by the Baltimore police commissioner, Richard Worley, who praised the collaboration of law enforcement agencies and the public in apprehending the suspect.

“This individual will kill, and he will rape,” Worley said at a news conference on Thursday. “He will do anything he can to cause harm.”

The Baltimore City State’s Attorney, Ivan J. Bates, said that his office will prosecute Billingsley to the fullest extent of the law and seek justice for the victims and their families.

“We are saddened by the loss of Pava LaPere, a young woman who had so much potential and who contributed so much to our city,” Bates said. “We are also outraged by the senseless violence that Jason Billingsley has inflicted on our community.”

The EcoMap Technologies team issued a statement on its website, expressing their grief over LaPere’s death and their gratitude for the support they have received.

“Pava was more than just our CEO. She was our friend, our mentor, our inspiration,” the statement read. “She had a vision of making the world a better place through technology and social impact. We will honor her legacy by continuing her work and fulfilling her dreams.”

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