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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Public’s help sought after runner’s body is found in woods

By Denise Lavoie Associated Press

BOSTON – Investigators probing the killing of a New York City woman who went for a run near her mother’s home in central Massachusetts and later was found dead in the woods said they’ve received hundreds of tips but don’t have any suspects or know if she was targeted or attacked at random.

Vanessa Marcotte, a 27-year-old Google account manager, was found dead Sunday night hours after she went for a run near her mother’s home in Princeton, a rural town of 3,500 residents about 40 miles west of Boston.

Authorities urged residents in the area to remain vigilant and reiterated a call for the public’s help. They urged anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area Sunday afternoon to call them.

“We’re still approaching this from every angle. We don’t know if this was a random act,” Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said. “We’re considering anyone and everyone who could have committed this crime.”

Early said Marcotte traveled from New York to Princeton frequently to visit her family. Marcotte’s father, John Marcotte, told the Boston Globe she was not in a romantic relationship.

Police said the town hadn’t had a homicide in three decades.

Marcotte grew up in nearby Leominster, attended the Bancroft School in Worcester and graduated from Boston University in 2011.

BU professor Steve Quigley, who taught Marcotte in his new media class in 2010, said she knew then that she wanted to focus on search engine marketing in her career.

“She was very good at it. Somehow she immediately knew that’s what she wanted to do,” Quigley said.

After Marcotte graduated, she occasionally contacted Quigley to let him know about potential jobs and internships for his students and offered to talk with his students about her job.

“She was just sweet and gentle and kind and smart, remarkably so,” he said.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, said it was “deeply shocked and saddened” by Marcotte’s killing.

“Vanessa Marcotte was a much loved member of the Google team, working in our New York office for the last year and a half, and known for her ubiquitous smile, passion for volunteer work and love of Boston sports,” the company said in a statement.

People in town held a vigil on Tuesday night to honor Marcotte and show support for her family. Town Administrator Nina Nazarian said the slaying has unnerved the town, known for the Wachusett Mountain Ski Area.

“I think there is concern out there, but the townspeople are banding together,” Nazarian said.

Marcotte’s death is similar to that of a New York City woman killed while on a run through a Queens park last week. Like Marcotte, 30-year-old Karina Vetrano was killed while running alone during daylight hours in a secluded area. There is no indication the deaths are connected.