ARREST WARRANT ISSUED FOR SUSPECT IN MURDER OF BALTIMORE STARTUP CEO
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Baltimore, MD (CNN) — The Baltimore Police Department has obtained an arrest warrant for Jason Dean Billingsley, 32, in connection with the murder of Pava LaPere, 26, CEO of the startup company EcoMap Technologies. LaPere’s lifeless body was discovered on Monday in a downtown Baltimore apartment with evident signs of traumatic cranial injuries caused by a blunt object.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley identified Billingsley as the primary suspect in the case. Police responded to a call for assistance at an apartment complex on West Franklin Street on Monday morning, where they found LaPere in critical condition. Unfortunately, authorities have not revealed any further details regarding her death.
Following the discovery, the medical examiner’s office took custody of the body, and an examination is currently pending to determine the official cause of LaPere’s death, according to the Baltimore Police.
Billingsley, who is still at large, is wanted on charges of premeditated murder, assault, reckless endangerment, and other offenses. Police have described him as armed and dangerous, urging the public to exercise caution and report any information that could lead to his arrest.
During the press conference, Worley issued a stern warning about Billingsley, stating, “This individual will kill and rape. He will do everything he can to cause harm.” The police department believes that LaPere and Billingsley did not know each other, raising questions about the motive for the crime.
Police have not disclosed the methods used to identify Billingsley as a suspect, leaving the public with unanswered questions. However, they are urging him to surrender, with Worley stating, “We will find you, so I ask that you turn yourself in to any officer, at any police station.”
LaPere was the co-founder and CEO of EcoMap Technologies, a startup that she established with Sherrod Davis when she was just 21 years old and a student at Johns Hopkins University. The company, employing over 30 individuals, has made significant contributions to the field of artificial intelligence. It offers AI tools, including a customizable chatbot, aimed at enhancing customer communication and access to important information.
Confirming LaPere’s death, EcoMap released a statement expressing their grief and shock over the tragic loss of their founder. “The circumstances surrounding Pava’s death are deeply distressing, and our deepest sympathies are with her family, friends, and loved ones during this incredibly devastating time,” the company said.
In August, EcoMap announced that it had successfully raised nearly $8 million in funding, demonstrating the support and promise that LaPere’s innovative work had garnered within the industry. Her accomplishments were further recognized earlier this year when she was included in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in the social impact category.
Colleagues and mentors remember LaPere as a visionary and compassionate leader who left a lasting impact on both the company and the Baltimore community. Delali Dzirasa, CEO of Baltimore-based Fearless, had the privilege of mentoring LaPere and spoke highly of her determination and likeability. “There is no person on planet Earth who can tell Pava that he can’t do something,” Dzirasa said. “Even though she was a force, she always left room for others.”
As the investigation into LaPere’s tragic death continues, the community remains in mourning and on high alert for the arrest of the suspect. Anyone with information on Jason Dean Billingsley’s whereabouts is urged to contact local authorities immediately.