Baltimore Police Hunting Homicide Suspect, Tech CEO Murder Shocks Community

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The Baltimore Police Department is currently amidst a frantic hunt for an individual, deemed “extremely dangerous” and suspected in the brutal homicide of 26-year-old Pava LaPere, a local tech CEO. LaPere was discovered deceased in an apartment building at the start of the week.

Jason Dean Billingsley, 32, is the focus of the manhunt, deemed armed and perilous due to charges of first-degree murder, assault, and various other infractions relating to LaPere’s tragic end, as per Acting Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley’s comments on Tuesday.

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LaPere, the co-originator of the budding startup EcoMap Technologies, was officially reported missing on Monday morning. Only a few hours later, her body was found in a downtown apartment, the signs of blunt-force trauma to her head evident.

LaPere, listed in Forbes 30 under 30 this year for her contributions to social impact, was widely respected as a dedicated, inventive leader in her field.

Billingsley, whose history divulges a record of violent crimes, is believed to still be within the Baltimore city limits. In light of his past convictions and assumed involvement in LaPere’s death, coupled with attempted murder, arson and rape charges from last week, a $6,000 reward has been offered for information leading to his apprehension or indictment.

Mayor Brandon Scott reiterated the sentiment of urgency, categorizing Billingsley as “extremely dangerous.” Despite a heartfelt plea from Billingsley’s mother urging him to surrender, his current whereabouts remain unknown.

Billingsley’s release from prison in October 2022 was met with backlash, given his criminal record which included multiple assault charges and a first-degree sex offense, for which he served a hefty 30-year sentence. Since his release, he has registered as a sex offender.

LaPere’s sudden and brutal death has sent shockwaves through the tech community and amongst her loved ones. As co-founder of EcoMap, her unwavering dedication and visionary leadership were vital to the startup’s progress and left a lasting impact on those around her.

EcoMap, the brainchild of LaPere and COO Sherrod Davis, was pioneered when LaPere was studying at Johns Hopkins University at the age of 21. The firm, currently employing just over 30 employees, deals with AI tools, making information more accessible and improving the seamlessness of client communications.

LaPere’s mentor, Delali Dzirasa, lauded her unyielding spirit and her ability to make room for others despite her dynamic personality. Friends and colleagues alike echoed this sentiment, describing her as a “beacon of light” for the community.

LaPere’s untimely demise will be mourned on Wednesday evening, as loved ones gather to cherish her exceptional life and the profound influence she exerted on her community.

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.