DNA Swab Nabs Suspect In Vanessa Marcotte's Killing

Police say he is being held on a $10 million bail.

Eight months after a 27-year-old jogger was brutally assaulted and killed near her mother’s Massachusetts home, authorities say they have arrested her suspected killer.

DNA taken from Vanessa Marcotte’s hands after her Aug. 7 attack in Princeton was found to match that of a Worcester man who was placed under arrest on Friday, prosecutors announced this weekend.

Angelo Colon-Ortiz, 31, was eyed as a suspect in Marcotte’s death by pure chance after a trooper saw him driving a vehicle that matched one described by witnesses, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early, Jr. said at a Saturday press conference.

Vanessa Marcotte, 27, was visiting her family's home in Princeton, Massachusetts in August when she was assaulted and killed
Vanessa Marcotte, 27, was visiting her family's home in Princeton, Massachusetts in August when she was assaulted and killed during a jog, authorities said.

The trooper jotted the vehicle’s license plate number down on his hand. He then looked up the plate’s address and visited the driver at his home. Colon-Ortiz then voluntarily submitted a DNA swab when requested. Without that swab, authorities said that Colon-Ortiz’s DNA was not in their criminal database.

“We’re very confident that we have Vanessa Marcotte’s killer,” Early said of the test results.

“Over the last eight-plus months, seasons changed, holidays came and passed, and Ms. Marcotte’s family waited and waited and hoped,” State Police Col. Richard D. McKeon said at the press conference.

“As the months passed, the DA’s office and Princeton Police and state troopers never stopped working. No one ever stopped thinking about Ms. Marcotte and how we could solve this case. We never lost faith that this day would come.”

Colon-Ortiz, who is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday, was arrested on charges of aggravated assault and battery and assault with attempt to rape, though more charges, including murder, are expected. He is being held on $10 million bail, Early said.

Marcotte was working for Google in New York City when she went to visit her mother. Her family, in a statement obtained by the Boston Globe, called working for Google “her dream job.”

“After eight long months, we’re able to take the first step toward justice for Vanessa,” they said, responding to news of a suspect’s arrest. “She was a beautiful, intelligent, and generous young woman whose passion for giving back to the community will always be remembered.”