Baltimore Tech Start-Up Founder Found Dead; Suspect Considered Armed and Dangerous


Baltimore, MARYLAND — The founder and chief executive of a prominent Baltimore tech start-up, hailed as an emerging entrepreneur in the city, was discovered deceased on Monday, prompting a city-wide manhunt for a suspect deemed to be armed and dangerous, according to police sources.

The entrepreneur in question, Pava LaPere, aged 26 and the visionary behind EcoMap Technologies, a company specializing in curating data for free platforms, was found lifeless at approximately 11:30 a.m. within an apartment complex in the 300 block of West Franklin Street. Baltimore Police Department officials revealed that officers detected "signs of blunt-force trauma" at the scene. This grim discovery followed shortly after authorities received a missing-person call.

As the investigation unfolded, law enforcement identified Jason Dean Billingsley, aged 32 and a registered sex offender with a release from prison last autumn, as the prime suspect in Ms. LaPere's tragic demise, and possibly in other cases. The department refrained from disclosing the methodology employed in singling out Mr. Billingsley as the suspect, and as of Tuesday night, calls seeking further comment remained unanswered.

Richard Worley, the acting police commissioner, urgently cautioned residents during a press conference, emphasizing that Mr. Billingsley "will kill, and he will rape. He will do anything he can to cause harm."

The shocking loss of Ms. LaPere has sent reverberations through the city of Baltimore, particularly its business community, which celebrated her as a promising entrepreneur deeply connected to the local landscape. A distinguished graduate of Johns Hopkins University, Ms. LaPere chose to build her venture in Baltimore, eschewing tech hubs like San Francisco. Through her efforts, she raised over $4 million, assembled a team of approximately 30 professionals, and served esteemed clients such as Meta and The Aspen Institute. Earlier this year, she was duly recognized by Forbes, earning a place on the prestigious 30 Under 30 List for her contributions to social impact.

Baltimore's Mayor, Brandon Scott, shared his personal connection to Ms. LaPere during the press conference, describing her as a "talented, devoted Baltimorean" who consistently extended a helping hand. He lamented the untimely end of a brilliant light at the hands of someone who showed "no care about anything other than harming people."

Court records reveal that Mr. Billingsley pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in 2009, followed by a second-degree assault charge in 2011. In 2015, he entered a guilty plea for a sex offense and received a 30-year sentence, with all but 14 years suspended. Released in October 2022, as confirmed by the Baltimore County Department of Corrections, Mr. Billingsley was not on parole but rather released "on mandatory supervision as required by statute," according to a spokesperson for the state's Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. Records with the Baltimore County Department of Corrections list Mr. Billingsley as a registered sex offender.