Slain Baltimore CEO was likely killed 3 days before she was found, police say, and the suspect was already being tracked for other alleged crimes – CNN


When authorities found the body of 26-year-old Pava LaPere at a Baltimore apartment building Monday, the tech executive had probably been dead for three days, police said Thursday.

But even before the CEO was killed, the man suspected of killing her was being tracked by investigators because police believed he was responsible for a rape, arson and attempted murder days earlier, officials said.

The stunning revelations came hours after the suspect, Jason Dean Billingsley, was arrested Wednesday night – ending a frantic manhunt for the convicted sex offender who had been sentenced to 30 years in prison but was released last year.

Baltimore police believe Billingsley is responsible for an arson, rape and attempted murder that happened September 19 in the 800 block of Edmondson Avenue – about a mile from where LaPere’s body was found days later.

That incident left a man and woman hospitalized in critical condition, though both were stable the next day, police said.

“All indications are that this was not a random act of violence,” Baltimore Acting Police Commissioner Richard Worley said. “We have information to believe that the victims … were targeted by the suspect – that the suspect knew the victims and he went into that location for a criminal reason.”

Investigators started looking for Billingsley, police said.

Police believe three days after the September 19 crimes, LaPere was killed.

from EcoMapTech/X

Pava LaPere earned a spot on Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” list this year, for social impact.

“It seems like she was probably murdered on Friday night, and she wasn’t recovered until they reported her missing … on Monday,” Worley said.

Authorities found her body Monday at an apartment building in the 300 block of West Franklin Street. Police said they don’t know of any connection between Billingsley and LaPere, the beloved CEO of EcoMap Technologies.

Billingsley was seen on video following LaPere on the street as she approached the building where she lived and worked, law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation told CNN.

The video shows the suspect following LaPere from a distance, but LaPere does not appear to be aware of his presence, according to the sources.

After LaPere entered the lobby where her company offices are located, she appeared to see Billingsley at the front door looking as though he had difficulty getting into the building – as if he had forgotten his keys, the sources said.

LaPere then opened the door for him, and security cameras in the lobby recorded them in conversation, according to the sources.

As LaPere walked toward the elevator, those security cameras show Billingsley following her.

LaPere was killed on the roof, the sources said, and Billingsley is recorded leaving the building about 40 minutes after following her into the elevator.

Billingsley was arrested Wednesday at a train station in Bowie, Maryland, Deputy US Marshal Albert Maresca Jr. told CNN affiliate WBAL. Bowie is about 25 miles southwest of downtown Baltimore.

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On Thursday, LaPere’s family released a statement thanking authorities for their work in capturing Billingsley.

“We appreciate the tireless efforts of the Baltimore Police Department, and their law enforcement partners, throughout the course of this investigation and apprehension of the suspect,” the family said.

“We’re relieved to know he can no longer hurt other innocent victims. While this doesn’t change that Baltimore lost one of its most passionate, influential fans, our efforts remain focused on remembering and celebrating Pava Marie – her life, successes, and legacy.”

Billingsley was released from prison last October after serving about seven years for a first-degree sex offense, court records show. He had previously pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in 2009 and second-degree assault in 2011, according to the records.

Detectives are poring over the city’s cases since last October to determine whether Billingsley may be connected to any other incidents since he was released, police said Wednesday.

Since his release from prison last year, Billingsley has been registered as a sex offender in Maryland’s statewide database.

He was initially sentenced to 30 years in prison with 16 months already served for the 2015 sex offense conviction, court records show.

His October 2022 release was not on parole but was instead “on mandatory supervision as required by statute” a spokesperson for Maryland’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services told The New York Times.

At a vigil for LaPere Wednesday evening, mourners remembered her as a rising tech entrepreneur who had a reputation for uplifting and connecting those in her Baltimore community.

Stephanie Scarbrough/AP

Pava LaPere’s father, Frank LaPere, is joined by his wife Caroline and son Nico as he speaks during a vigil on Wednesday.

Her father, Frank LaPere, became tearful as he described his daughter growing up as “the definition of daddy’s little girl.”

The father described how he proudly watched as Pava tapped into her innate leadership ability and relentlessly pursued her goals.

Pava LaPere cofounded EcoMap at age 21 while she was still attending college at Johns Hopkins University, according to the company’s website.

The startup, which sells artificial intelligence tools, has since grown to over 30 employees and announced nearly $8 million in financing this year.

LaPere’s accomplishments earned her a spot on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list earlier this year for social impact.

The father and daughter – both early risers – would talk early in the morning and exchange photos of their sunrises, her father recalled. Pava would get to work early because she was a “workaholic” like her father, Frank said.

LaPere’s dedication to supporting young entrepreneurs and building a tech community in Baltimore means she has left behind a legacy that won’t be easily forgotten, said Kory Bailey, who described LaPere as his friend and mentor.

“The impact of who she is, what she means to us and what she created in this world will be felt, it will be carried forward and it will be recognized for years to come,” said Bailey, the chief ecosystem and relationship officer at UpSurge Baltimore, a company that helps startups to develop.

LaPere’s father thanked the vigil attendees for supporting his daughter’s dreams.

“We’re going to take her away from Baltimore, but her presence will never leave here,” he said. “Thank you very, very much for loving our girl.”


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