Pava Lapeyre murder: Baltimore police searching for ‘extremely dangerous’ ex-con in tech CEO’s death


Baltimore police are continuing to search for an “extremely dangerous” man suspected in the murder of 26-year-old tech CEO Pava LaPere, who was found dead in an apartment building on Monday.

Acting Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley said Tuesday that the suspect, 32-year-old Jason Dean Billingsley, should be considered armed and dangerous because he is wanted on charges of first-degree murder, assault and other crimes.

According to police, Lapeyre, co-founder of small startup Ecomap Technologies, was reported missing on Monday morning. A few hours later, police were called to an apartment building downtown, where LaPere was found with blunt-force trauma to his head, Worley said.

The young tech executive, who was named to this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 list for social impact, is being hailed as an innovative leader who was dedicated to supporting those around her.

The building where she was found had security measures in place that would have required anyone to “allow (the suspect) into the building”. Worley said.

Investigators believe Billingsley is still in Baltimore and are urging anyone who may have information about his whereabouts or any other information to immediately call 911, Worley said Tuesday.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said he considered Billingsley “extremely dangerous”, a warning echoed by the police commissioner.

“This person will murder and he will rape. He will do anything to cause harm,” Worley warned, citing the suspect’s criminal record.

According to court records, Billingsley pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in 2009 and second-degree assault in 2011. Records show he also pleaded guilty to a first-degree sex offense in 2015 and was sentenced to 30 years in prison with 16 months suspended.

Since his release from prison in October 2022, Billingsley has been registered in Maryland’s database as a sex offender.

The police commissioner said Billingsley is a suspect in at least one other case, but did not elaborate.

A vigil will be held in LaPere on Wednesday evening “to celebrate Pava’s extraordinary life and his profound impact on our community,” EcoMap said in a social media post.

Lapeyre’s sudden death has stunned his loved ones and members of the local tech community, who say the Ecomap co-founder was a beloved leader whose unwavering dedication to his work was essential to the startup’s growing success.

“Pava’s visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to fostering inclusivity, growing the ecosystem, and strengthening Baltimore’s tech community set her apart as an extraordinary leader, and echoes EchoMap’s mission,” EchoMap said in a Facebook post. His boundless passion for was fundamental to our success.”

According to Ecomap’s website, Lapeyre founded Ecomap with COO Sherrod Davis when she was a 21-year-old college student at Johns Hopkins University. With just over 30 employees, the startup is part of the artificial intelligence wave. The company says it sells AI tools, including a customizable chatbot, aimed at making customer information easier to access and customer communication more seamless.

In August, the company said its funding had reached nearly $8 million.

In addition to being a driving force behind EcoMap, LaPere strove to uplift others within the Baltimore community, the city’s mayor said Tuesday.

Scott recalled, “Pava was a very young, talented, dedicated Baltimorean – someone I had the opportunity to know over the last few years – who would help anyone she saw.”

When EcoMap announced it had closed a $3.5 million funding round in June, LaPere said he and the company were “particularly proud of the number of investors from our hometown of Baltimore.”

We are passionately committed to making an impact on the city and we are proud to be part of its growing tech ecosystem,” LaPere said in a news release at the time.

Delali Dzirasa, LaPere’s mentor and CEO of the Baltimore-based company Fearless, told CNN that LaPere was highly respected in his community.

“There is no person on planet Earth who can tell Pava she can’t do something,” Dzirasa said. “Even though she was a force, she always made room for other people,” he said.

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