(BALTIMORE) — A suspect is sought in the murder of a 26-year-old founder of a tech company who was found dead with “blunt-force trauma wounds” in a Baltimore apartment building, police said.
Police found Pava LaPere dead after responding to a call for service midday Monday at an apartment complex in the 300 block of West Franklin Street, the Baltimore Police Department said in a statement, which opened a homicide investigation.
Baltimore police announced Tuesday evening they have issued an arrest warrant for her murder. Jason Dean Billingsley, 32, of Baltimore, is wanted for first-degree murder, assault, reckless endangerment and other charges, Baltimore Commissioner Richard Worley said.
Billingsley is believed to be “armed and dangerous,” Worley told reporters during a press briefing while urging anyone with information on his whereabouts to call 911.
“This individual will kill and he will rape, he will do anything he can to cause harm,” Worley said.
Billingsley was previously convicted of a sex offense in 2015 and released in October 2022, according to Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services online records.
Worley had a message for Billingsley during the press briefing: “Every single police officer in Baltimore City, the state of Maryland as well as the U.S. Marshals are looking for you. We will find you, so I would ask you to turn yourself in.”
Authorities declined to say where LaPere was found, though Worley said it was a secure building where someone would have had to allow the suspect inside.
A missing person’s call had been made within hours of the discovery, police said.
Police identified the victim on Tuesday as LaPere, who was the CEO and founder of EcoMap Technologies.
“With profound sadness and shock, EcoMap announces the tragic and untimely passing of our beloved Founder and CEO, Pava LaPere,” EcoMap said in a statement Tuesday. “The circumstances surrounding Pava’s death are deeply distressing, and our deepest condolences are with her family, friends and loved ones during this incredibly devastating time.”
The Baltimore-based company said LaPere was a “visionary force” behind the startup as well as a “deeply compassionate and dedicated leader.”
EcoMap said it will share more details on how it plans to honor her memory in the coming days.
Last month, EcoMap raised $3.5 million in seed funding, bringing the total raised by the company to nearly $8 million, the company said in a press release.
The company builds platforms to help people navigate business communities, industries and institutional networks. Its tools are used by more than 65 organizations, including Venture for America, the Aspen Institute, T.Rowe Price and the state of Indiana, it said.
The Johns Hopkins University graduate was profiled in Forbes 30 Under 30 this year.
She was on the advisory board for the Simon Center on Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Loyola University Maryland, which called her a “true star.”
“She was a phenomenally accomplished CEO and innovator, and an inspiration and a friend to so many,” Wendy Bolger, founding director of the Simon Center on Innovation & Entrepreneurship, said in a statement. “She always led with values first, and was deeply committed to Baltimore, and the promises of technology and entrepreneurship for all.”
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said he also got to know LaPere over the years.
“Pava was a very young, talented, devoted Baltimorean — someone… who would help anybody that she would see,” he said during Tuesday’s briefing. “And to have that life cut short by someone who has no care about anything other than harming people is something that should sit deep in the stomachs of all Baltimoreans tonight.”
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.