A 26-year-old tech CEO was found dead in her Baltimore apartment on Monday morning, the victim of an apparent homicide. Pava LaPere, founder and CEO of data company EcoMap Technologies, was discovered deceased in her Mount Vernon neighborhood apartment after police received a call for assistance around 11:30 AM. She appeared to have suffered blunt force trauma to the head.
Police Seek Suspect
Baltimore police have issued an arrest warrant for 32-year-old Jason Dean Billingsley in connection with LaPere’s murder. At a Tuesday press conference, Acting Police Commissioner Richard Worley stated that Billingsley should be considered armed and dangerous. “This individual will kill, and he will rape. He will do anything he can to cause harm,” Worley warned.
According to police, Billingsley has a criminal history including past convictions for violent crimes and sex offenses. He had recently been released on parole after serving part of a 30-year prison sentence. Authorities do not believe the suspect was acquainted with the victim.
Victim was Rising Tech Leader
LaPere was the founder and CEO of EcoMap Technologies, a Baltimore-based startup focused on data accessibility. The company maps information and puts it into accessible digital platforms for clients including large corporations, nonprofits and foundations.
Still in her 20s, LaPere was already considered a standout in Baltimore’s tech community. Earlier this year she was named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list for social impact. She previously founded a nonprofit to mentor young entrepreneurs in Maryland.
LaPere recently led EcoMap to nearly $8 million in financing. The company called her an inspirational leader with an “untiring commitment” to EcoMap, Baltimore, and building an inclusive culture.
Shock and Mourning
LaPere’s shocking death at such a young age has left many who knew her reeling.
Her father, Frank LaPere, called his daughter’s passing an “unimaginable tragedy” in a statement. He said Pava LaPere was driven, creative, hard working and made an impact on every life she touched.
Johns Hopkins University, LaPere’s alma mater, said the community there “deeply mourns” her loss. She was well known and loved in the Baltimore entrepreneur community, the university stated.
McKeever Conwell, managing partner at RareBreed Ventures, knew LaPere through Baltimore’s tech ecosystem. He described her as an inspirational entrepreneur and leader. “She epitomized what it was to be a dreamer,” Conwell told local media.
As the search continues for the suspect, police are asking the public for help locating Billingsley. He is described as a 32-year-old black male, 6’1″ tall and approximately 200-215 lbs.
Anyone who sees Billingsley or knows of his whereabouts is urged to contact Baltimore Police immediately. Tips can also be reported anonymously to Metro Crime Stoppers. Authorities warn that the suspect is considered armed and dangerous and advise using extreme caution.
LaPere’s murder remains under investigation as the community mourns the loss of a talented young leader. Police continue to search for the perpetrator while her loved ones and colleagues remember Pava LaPere’s spirit, vision and compassionate leadership.