The struggle put up by Google executive Vanessa Marcotte before she was brutally raped and murdered helped catch the suspect in her murder, police said.
State police arrested Angelo Colon-Ortiz, 31, in Worcester, Massachusetts, on Saturday after police used DNA found on Marcotte’s hands to link him to the killing.
Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr commended Marcotte’s bravery at a press conference on Saturday.
‘It was through her determined fight and efforts that we obtained the DNA of her killer,’ he told the crowd.
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Police say that the struggle Vanessa Marcotte (left and right) put up before her death has led to the arrest of a suspect in her killing. She was raped and murdered on August 7, 2016
Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr (pictured on Saturday) said the DNA helped build a profile of the killer that was used to identify the suspect, Angelo Colon-Ortiz, 31
Residents from the community applauded as Early confirmed Colon-Ortiz’s arrest, which came after police built a DNA profile of Marcotte’s killer.
They used that profile – and a report of a dark SUV spotted near the scene of the August 7, 2016 killing – to identify the suspect, Early said.
In a written statement, her parents said: ‘After eight long months, we’re able to take the first step toward justice for Vanessa.
‘She was a beautiful, intelligent, and generous young woman whose passion for giving back to the community will always be remembered.
‘As we move forward, her spirit will live on through The Vanessa T Marcotte Foundation that strives to empower women to live boldly and fearlessly.’
According to its website, the foundation‘s goal is to to help women ‘live free from the fear of violence.’
It aims to to that by ‘partnering with organizations that deliver educational programs to promote female empowerment, challenge and undermine gender stereotypes, and provide mentorship opportunities [for women].’
Marcotte’s body was found near the Massachusetts home of her mom (right), whom she was visiting from New York. Her hands, feet and head were burned
Marcotte, a graduate of Boston University, was found near her mom’s Princeton, Massachusetts, home on August 7, 2016. Her hands, feet and head had been burned.
The New Yorker, who was visiting her mother at the time, was found dead after she didn’t return to their home from a run.
Colon-Ortiz is being held in at the state police barracks in Millbury on a $1 million bail.
Early Jr said that a Massachusetts State Trooper saw a dark SUV in Worcester, similar to the one that had been spotted driving from the scene.
The man driving fitted a description of the suspect, he said, so the trooper went to the man’s home and was able to take a DNA sample from the man’s cheek.
The test results, which came in on Friday, said that the sample matched DNA found on Marcotte’s body.
Colon-Ortiz was then arrested, and is set to make his first appearance in court on Tuesday.
Investigators search the wooded area where Marcotte’s body was found last year. The Google executive was murdered while out for a jog
Early Jr said that Colon-Ortiz was working near where Marcotte was killed on the day of her brutal death, but there is precious little other information on the man.
He has no criminal history and the DA is unsure whether he is a US citizen.
At present he has not been formally charged with murder; Early said that he is facing multiple aggravated assault charges, and that more charges are likely to follow.
In February, Early Jr said they had made a DNA breakthrough in the case, and revealed that they were seeking a Hispanic man of average height.
The suspect was also likely to have had scratches or cuts on his face, neck, hands and arms that day, police said.
They added that they believed him to be the same man seen driving a dark colored SUV in the area around the time that the young jogger was killed.
Police have not revealed how they acquired the DNA, saying only that they got it during the course of their investigation, and that it was on Marcotte’s hands.
Marcotte vanished on an afternoon run while on a visit to the home her mom Rosanna. Investigators are seen combing through the scene
State police received over 1,000 tips in connection with the case after the DNA profile was built. They also linked a dark SUV spotted near the scene to the killing
It is also not clear exactly how the DNA was used to build the profile.
Marcotte vanished on an afternoon run while on a visit to the home of her mom in Worcester from New York.
Her naked body was found at around 8.20pm in woodlands near the home.
It’s believed she was killed some time between 1pm, when she left her mom’s home, and 4pm.
She had been sexually assaulted, and her hands, feet and part of her head were burned.
Marcotte’s shocking murder left her family shattered, they said towards the end of last year.
Her uncle, Steven Therrien, read an emotional statement at a church in the town on December 31, asking for help finding the young woman’s killer.
Her body was found not far from this house in Princeton, Massachusetts. She was on a run when she was killed
‘It has been more than four months since Vanessa was tragically taken from us,’ Therrien said.
‘Not a day goes by that we don’t reflect on the enormity of our loss. She had already achieved much but we know she had much more to do.
‘She was a loving, caring, intelligent young woman who had her whole life ahead of her.’
Marcotte’s shocking murder left her family shattered. They have started up a foundation to carry on her memory by helping women ‘live free from fear of violence’
Marcotte’s parents, Rossana and John Marcotte, stood silent next to Therrien at the news conference, holding back tears.
Her father held a banner that read: ‘Justice for Vanessa.’
And at Marcotte’s funeral, her best friend, Leah Abrahams, gave a moving eulogy to her slain friend.
‘She was so perfect, it was otherworldly,’ she said.
‘Something about Vanessa always reminded me of the ocean – so breathlessly beautiful, quiet and peaceful.’
She later said: ‘You epitomize grace, light, humility, and absolute magic.’
Marcotte was killed just weeks after Queens jogger Karina Vetrano was brutally raped and murdered while she was out for a run. A suspect in her death, Chanel Lewis, admitted murdering her in February.
Family members load Marcotte’s coffin into the back of a hearse after her funeral last year