A manhunt in Baltimore has come to an end after police said a man wanted in the killing of a tech entrepreneur has been taken into custody.
Police said they arrested 36-year-old Jason Billingsley shortly before midnight Wednesday at a train station east of Washington, D.C. He has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of 26-year-old Pava LaPere.
Baltimore police Commissioner Richard Worley said at a news conference Thursday morning that authorities believe LaPere was killed on Friday, Sept. 22, but her body wasn't found until Monday after she had been reported missing. Police said she suffered from what appeared to be signs of blunt force trauma to the head.
The Johns Hopkins University alumna was the CEO and founder of the tech startup EcoMap Technologies, which she started while still in college. Earlier this year, LaPere was also named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for social impact.
"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," LaPere's family said in a statement. "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."
Worley said authorities have no reason to believe that Billingsley knew LaPere, but he did work at the apartment complex where she lived and had access to the building. He added that authorities had already been tracking Billingsley at the time of LaPere's death due to a separate violent incident.
"When we had [a previous] press conference about LaPere’s death, we were within about 88 meters of capturing the suspect, but he was able to elude capture,” Worley said.
Billingsley, who is a convicted felon and registered sex offender, was just released from prison last October after pleading guilty to first-degree sexual assault in 2015. He is also the primary suspect in a rape, attempted murder and arson attack earlier this month that left a Baltimore man and woman in critical condition.
Baltimore City State's Attorney Ivan Bates said if a grand jury returns an indictment, he will pursue a sentence of life in prison without the possibility for parole.
"If this individual is found guilty in a court of law, this individual will never get out to see the light of day again to ever hurt any of the citizens of our fine city ever again," Bates said.
@scrippsnews Baltimore Police arrested 32-year-old Jason Billingsley late Wednesday night for the murder of tech CEO Pava LaPere. LaPere was found dead in her apartment earlier this week. #Baltimore #PavaLaPere ♬ original sound - Scripps News