A violent repeat offender is on the run from police after allegedly killing a 26-year-old tech CEO in Baltimore, on the United States’ east coast.
Pava LaPere, the CEO and founder of EcoMap Technologies, whose accomplishments earned her a spot on the Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list, was found dead about 11.30am on Monday.
LaPere had apparent signs of “blunt-force trauma”, police said.
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An arrest warrant has been issued for Jason Billingsley, on first-degree murder and additional charges.
Officials said Billingsley, 32, of Baltimore, should be considered armed and dangerous.
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“This individual will kill, and he will rape,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley said on Tuesday afternoon. “He will do anything he can to cause harm.”
Billingsley was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2015, with 16 years suspended, after he pleaded guilty to a first-degree sex offence, court records show.
The Maryland sex offender registry shows he was released from prison in October. The registry classified him in “tier 3”, which includes the most serious charges and requires offenders to register for life.
The prosecutor in the 2015 case did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Billingsley’s public defender could not immediately be reached.
Relatives identified in public records as Billingsley’s mother and sister did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Pava LaPere, 26, was found dead in her apartment on Monday with signs of blunt-force trauma. Credit: Facebook
Court records show Billingsley also pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in 2009 and second-degree assault in 2011.
The police Special Investigations Section is working to determine whether Billingsley is linked to any other cases, police said.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said Billingsley should not have been free.
“There is no way in hell that he should have been out on the street,” Scott said.
“When the police go out and do their job, as they did in this case … and the state’s attorney goes out and does their work, gets the conviction, the conviction should be the conviction.
“We are tired of talking about the same people committing the same kind of crimes over and over again.”
Officials did not provide details about a possible motive in LaPere’s death or any possible relationship between her and Billingsley.
Pava LaPere was the CEO and founder of EcoMap Technologies. Credit: Facebook
Scott, who knew LaPere, called her “young, talented” and said she was “devoted” to the city.
A missing person report had been filed not long before LaPere was discovered dead late Monday morning, police said.
LaPere’s firm, EcoMap Technologies, positions itself as a company that uses technology to “digitise ecosystems, ensuring anyone can easily access the information they need, so ecosystems can be as equitable, efficient, and effective as possible”.
In a statement, EcoMap Technologies said the circumstances surrounding LaPere’s death were “deeply distressing” and that she “was not only the visionary force behind EcoMap but was also a deeply compassionate and dedicated leader”.
In its “30 Under 30” feature for 2023, Forbes said that LaPere, a Johns Hopkins graduate, had a team of 30 and that her clients included the Aspen Institute, Meta, the WXR Fund and the T. Rowe Price Foundation.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Jason Billingsley in relation to Pava LaPere’s alleged murder. Credit: Baltimore Police Department/Facebook
Worley urged Billingsley to stop running and turn himself in.
“If you’re out there watching … every single police officer in Baltimore city, in the state of Maryland, as well as U.S. marshals, are looking for you,” Worley said.
“We will find you … and then we will turn it over to the state’s attorney to prosecute you to the fullest.
“So please turn yourself in.”
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