The Baltimore Police Department announced an arrest warrant for a suspect wanted in the murder of Pava LaPere, 26, CEO of startup EcoMap Technologies, who was found dead in a downtown Baltimore apartment on Monday with signs of cranial trauma by blunt object.
Police are looking for Jason Dean Billingsley, 32, according to Police Commissioner Richard Worley at a press conference Tuesday.
Officers responded to a call for service at an apartment complex in the 300 block of West Franklin Street around 11:34 a.m. Monday, according to Baltimore Police. Upon arrival, officers found LaPere with severe head injuries. The police have no further information about his death.
The medical examiner’s office has taken custody of the body and the examination is still pending, said the police.
Billingsley is wanted for premeditated murder, assault, wanton endangerment and other charges. He should be considered armed and dangerous, police said.
“This individual will kill and rape. He will do anything he can to harm,” Worley warned.
Baltimore Police said they do not believe LaPere and Billingsley knew each other.
Police did not say how they identified Billingsley as the suspect.
In a message to Billingsley, Worley urged him to surrender. “We will look for you, so I am asking you to surrender yourself to any officer, at any police station,” he said.
The founder of a startup involved in Baltimore
EcoMap was founded by LaPere and Sherrod Davis when LaPere was a 21-year-old college student at Johns Hopkins, according to EcoMap’s website. With more than 30 employees, the company is part of the wave of artificial intelligence companies. It sells AI tools, including a customizable chatbot, which aims to facilitate access to customer information and make communication with them more fluid, according to the company.
The company confirmed LaPere’s death to CNN.
“It is with deep sadness and shock that EcoMap announces the tragic and untimely passing of our beloved founder and CEO, Pava LaPere,” EcoMap said in a statement. “The circumstances surrounding Pava’s death are extremely distressing, and our deepest condolences are with her family, friends and loved ones at this very devastating time.”
Last August, the company said it had raised nearly $8 million in funding.
Earlier this year, LaPere was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list in the social impact category.
“Pava is not only the visionary force behind EcoMap, but also a deeply compassionate and dedicated leader. His tireless commitment to our company, to Baltimore, to expand critical ecosystem work throughout country, and to build a deep “as a leader. , friend and colleague he set a standard for leadership, and his legacy will live on through the work we continue to do,” the company said.
Delali Dzirasa, CEO of Baltimore-based Fearless, oversees LaPere and remembers him as a strong leader well-liked throughout the community.
“No one on planet Earth can tell Pava he can’t do something,” Dzirasa said. “Even though he was a force, he always left room for others,” he told CNN.