MILLBURY (CBS) — Massachusetts State Police have arrested a Worcester man in the murder of a Princeton jogger last year.
Vanessa Marcotte was 27 when she was found slain near her parents’ home on August 8, 2016.
State Police arrested 31-year-old Angelo Colon-Ortiz in her murder. He is charged with aggravated assault, aggravated assault and battery, and assault with intent to rape.
“We got him,” Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early, Jr. told reporters at a press conference Saturday afternoon, as Princeton residents who had gathered, relieved at the news, clapped.
Marcotte’s best friend Ashley McNiff will be running this year’s Boston Marathon in honor of her friend.
One resident expressed relief that the suspect had been arrested.
“I live in town and I’m a runner. My heart just goes out to this family and I’m relieved that they found someone,” the resident said.
Marcotte was visiting her family from New York, where she worked as an executive for Google, when she went for a run on the afternoon of August 7.
Her body was later found naked and burned off Brooks Station Road just a half mile from her mother’s home.
Police received over 1,300 tips in the case. In November, investigators said they were seeking a dark-colored SUV; in February, information obtained from a DNA test had them searching for a Hispanic or Latino man with an athletic build, light or medium skin, and shaved or very short hair.
These pieces of information turned out to be a vital.
“Consistent with the information we released to the public, an alert State Trooper with the State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office saw a dark SUV in Worcester not long ago,” Early said. “He looked at the driver of the vehicle, and it matched our suspect.”
The trooper wasn’t able to find a piece of paper, so he wrote the SUV’s license plate number down on his hand. He followed up by visiting Colon-Ortiz’s house, but he wasn’t home. He left a card and a request to call, but the call never came–so the trooper returned to Colon-Ortiz’s home, where he was able to get a voluntary DNA swab.
Early said DNA from a possible suspect was taken from Marcotte’s hands during her autopsy, and the DNA from Colon-Ortiz’s voluntary swab matched it. Colon-Ortiz was picked up at his Worcester home late Friday night and placed under arrest early Saturday morning.
Colon-Ortiz is currently being held at the State Police barracks in Millbury.
He is due to be arraigned in Leominster District Court on Tuesday.
State Police Col. Richard McKeon thanked investigators for never giving up on the case.
“Through the last 8-plus months, seasons changed, holidays came and passed, and Mrs. Marcotte’s family waited and waited and hoped,” said Col. McKeon. “As the months passed, the DA’s office and Princeton Police and State Troopers never stopped working. No one ever stopped thinking about Mrs. Marcotte and how we could solve this case. We never lost faith that this day would come.”
Early thanked Princeton and State Police and the public–and reserved a special thanks for Vanessa herself.
“It was through her determined fight and her efforts that we obtained the DNA from her killer,” Early explained.
Early said Marcotte’s family is still requesting privacy.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karyn Regal reports