LaPere, 26, was found dead at an apartment building in the 300 block of West Franklin Street around 11:30 a.m. Monday, according to Baltimore Police Det. Freddie Talbert.
A Baltimore Police Department advisory said that a preliminary investigation revealed that a missing person’s call had been dispatched a short time prior. The advisory did not say who made the call, to which officers responded at about 11:34 a.m. on Monday. The department also noted that LaPere was found in the apartment complex “with signs of blunt-force trauma,” and that homicide detectives assumed control over the investigation.
During a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, the department’s acting commissioner Richard Worley said that a warrant was issued for suspect Jason Dean Billingsley, 32. Worley said that Billingsley is wanted for first-degree murder, as well as “assault, reckless endangerment” and other unspecified charges.
Worley was flanked by State’s Attorney Ivan Bates and Mayor Brandon Scott, the latter of whom mentioned having connected with LaPere over the last several years.
“Pava was a very young, talented, devoted Baltimorean, someone that I had the opportunity to get to know over the past few years, who would help anybody that she would see,” Scott said.
LaPere founded EcoMap in Baltimore in 2018. The platform works to enable different entities and institutions — ranging from university systems to municipal governments to Baltimore’s own tech scene — to seamlessly map their respective ecosystems’ participants and resources. Before she founded this company, LaPere co-organized the Innov8MD college entrepreneurship conference and was instrumental in creating Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures’ accelerator program.
In an August phone interview with Technical.ly, the 2023 Forbes 30-under-30 honoree told Technical.ly about how a recent raise would support the company’s revamp of its core ecosystem-mapping product.
EcoMap was one of Technical.ly’s RealLIST Startups in 2022 and graduated from the Techstars Equitech Accelerator that same year. LaPere was recently named an advisory board member for Loyola University’s Simon Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
According to the police advisory, this is a Central District homicide investigation. Detectives ask those with information to contact them at 410-396-2100 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP.
In addition, according to UpSurge Baltimore’s LinkedIn, a vigil will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon.
This is a developing story. If you have memories or thoughts to share about LaPere, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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