Police are investigating the death of a technology company executive in downtown Baltimore. The victim, Pava LaPere, was the founder and CEO of Baltimore-based technology company EcoMap Technologies. (Credit: from EcoMapTech)
(CNN) -- 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 Monday with signs of blunt force trauma.
Police are looking for Jason Dean Billingsley, 32, Police Commissioner Richard Worley said Tuesday at a news conference.
Deputies responded to a call for service at an apartment complex in the 300 block of West Franklin Street about 11:34 a.m. Upon arrival, officers found LaPere with serious head injuries. Police have not provided further information about his death.
The medical examiner's office took charge of the body and an examination is pending, police said.
Billingsley is wanted on premeditated murder, assault, reckless endangerment and other charges. He should be considered armed and dangerous, police said.
"This individual will kill and rape. He will do everything he can to cause harm," Worley warned.
Baltimore police said they don't believe LaPere and Billingsley met.
Police did not say how they identified Billingsley as a suspect.
In a message to Billingsley, Worley urged him to turn himself in. "We will find you, so I ask you to turn yourself in to any agent, at any police station," he said.
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The founder of a startup linked to Baltimore
EcoMap was founded by LaPere and Sherrod Davis when LaPere was a 21-year-old college student at Johns Hopkins, according to the EcoMap website. With just over 30 employees, the company is part of the wave of artificial intelligence companies. It sells AI tools, including a customizable chatbot, which aims to make it easier to access 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 deeply distressing, and our deepest condolences are with his family, friends and loved ones during this incredibly devastating time."
In August, the company said it had secured nearly $8 million in funding.
Earlier this year, LaPere was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list in the social impact category.
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"Pava was not only the visionary force behind EcoMap, but also a deeply compassionate and dedicated leader. Her tireless commitment to our company, to Baltimore, to amplify the critical work of ecosystems across the country, and to building a deeply inclusive culture as a leader, friend and partner set a standard for leadership, and her legacy will live on through the work we continue to do," the company said.
Delali Dzirasa, CEO of Baltimore-based Fearless, mentored LaPere and remembers her as a determined and well-regarded leader throughout the community.
"There is no person on planet Earth who can tell Pava that he can't do something," Dzirasa says. "Even though he was a force, he always left room for others," he told CNN.