Police said 26-year-old Pava Lapeyre had suffered blunt force trauma. Authorities released his name in a news release Tuesday morning. Public records show LaPere lived at the apartment complex where her body was found.
Authorities announced a suspect in the case at a news conference Tuesday evening: Jason Billingsley, 32, who had been released on parole in a sexual assault case last October. Court records show he pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual assault in 2015. Authorities said they had no reason to believe that LaPere knew Billingsley.
The public defender’s office, which has represented Billingsley in the past, told The Associated Press on Tuesday evening that it was too early for them to comment on the case.
Acting Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley asked anyone with information about Billingsley’s whereabouts to contact authorities. He said Billingsley should be considered armed and dangerous.
“This person will murder and he will rape. He will do anything to cause harm, Worley said.
Lapeyre, who graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2019, founded the startup Ecomap Technologies. The company focuses on curating data from the business, non-profit and education ecosystem and making it easier to access and interpret, according to its website. His clients include Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, and the T Rowe Price Foundation.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said he has had the privilege of getting to know LaPere over the years.
He said, “To have that life cut short by a man who cares nothing about anything other than hurting people is something that should hit deep in the stomach for all Baltimoreans tonight.”
“We will not rest until justice is served.”
In a statement, colleagues described LaPere as “an extremely compassionate and dedicated leader.”
Ecomap staff wrote, “His tireless commitment to enhancing the critical function of ecosystems across our company, Baltimore, the country, and building a deeply inclusive culture as a leader, friend and partner set a standard for leadership Is.”
In another statement released Tuesday, Johns Hopkins officials expressed condolences for the recent graduate, who “made Baltimore his home and invested his talents in our city.”
“Pava was well known and loved in the Baltimore entrepreneurship community and will be greatly missed,” he said.
According to his LinkedIn page, LaPere also founded a nonprofit that helped support student entrepreneurs in Maryland.
Earlier this year, she was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for social impact.
On his LinkedIn profile, he describes himself as a tech CEO “who believes in hyperlocal, ecosystem-based economic growth to create a more equitable future for all communities.” He posted on Instagram about founding the startup from his college dorm room and watching it grow into a strong, successful enterprise.
“Honestly, running this company is a lot harder than I thought it would be,” he said in a video posted on social media in April by the nonprofit Baltimore Homecoming.
“But every time we launch a new platform I feel very excited as we see thousands of people who are using it to find the information they need in their community.”
Officials said his family asked for privacy immediately after his death.