The son of Anne Arundel County cybersecurity executive Juanita Koilpillai was arrested for her murder on Saturday, marking the latest turn in an incident that has rattled the regional tech community working at the intersection of startups and the federal government.
Koilpillai, 58, was found dead outside her home in the Chesapeake Bay-side community of Tracys Landing on July 25. Her boyfriend had reported her missing, and found blood outside the residence. Anne Arundel County police said she had “multiple sharp force wounds,” and later ruled the incident as a homicide. Her vehicle was missing from the residence.
In a news release issued over the weekend, police said they arrested her son Andrew Beavers in Leesburg, Virginia, and charged him with first and second-degree murder. Police found the car at the location in Leesburg, and said Beavers had a fresh laceration on his right hand that he could not explain. Beavers, 23, lived in the home with his mother. Police said the attack was “a targeted incident and not a random act of violence.”
In news reports over the last several days, Koilpillai was remembered as a brilliant technologist working to bring new tools to help the federal government protect against digital attacks. Over a 30-year career, she founded multiple startups, dating to the pioneering years of the 1990s. She cofounded Falls Church, Virginia-based security management startup Mountain Wave, which had a platform called CyberWolf that was used by the federal government. The company was acquired by Symantec in 2002.
“To grow a startup into a great company and then sell it to a bigger technology company was an incredible accomplishment,” friend Connie Moore told the Capital Gazette. “But to do it as a woman, to do it as a … person of color, just speaks volumes about her tenacity, about her brilliance, about her business acumen, about her technology expertise, it was extraordinary.”
In June, her custom software development and services company Waverley Labs launched a new spinout called Resiliant, which specializes in what are known as software-defined perimeters. Working with the federal government, she was also a member of FEMA’s Enterprise Security Management Team and contributor to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
She was also a technologist willing to give back. She founded an entrepreneurship-focused nonprofit called The Merge Foundation. Ron Martin, a longtime friend and professor at Capital Technology University, told The Washington Post that she was “always willing to help out students.”
“We are truly saddened to learn of the passing of Juanita Koilpillai, Founder and CEO of Waverley Labs,” a statement on Waverley Labs’ website reads. “We want to express our sincere condolences to her family, friends and colleagues. We are currently gathering information and will provide further comment following the police investigation that is underway.”
Juanita Koilpillai was well known as a devoted philanthropist, groundbreaking cyber security business owner and beloved mother. Friends and family are mourning after she was found killed outside her home in Tracys Landing with multiple sharp force injuries, per @AACOPD. @WUSA9 pic.twitter.com/bPoIvAy4XT
— Matthew Torres (@News_MTorres) July 27, 2021