A Google employee was visiting family in Massachusetts when she went out for a jog. She never returned home alive.
Now, the man who killed her will spend decades behind bars.
Last month, a Massachusetts judge sentenced Angelo Colon-Ortiz to life in prison for the murder of Vanessa Marcotte in 2016. He pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree murder and unarmed robbery, according to the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office.
Colon-Ortiz will not be parole eligible for 45 years.
“We are thankful and gratified the legal process has accomplished what we always wished for, that this man will now be in a place where he can’t hurt anyone else like the way he hurt Vanessa,” the Marcotte family said. “To honor and remember Vanessa, we will continue to educate and protect women through the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation.
Marcotte worked for Google in New York City, prosecutors said. She was visiting family in the Princeton, Massachusetts, area in August 2016. Marcotte went for a walk on Aug. 7, 2016, and was reported missing after she did not return home.
Her body was later found in the woods not far from her family’s home.
According to ABC News, there were signs the victim was sexually assaulted and there were burns on parts of her body.
Prosecutors said that investigators received more than 1,300 tips in the case. A major break happened when a Massachusetts State Police trooper spotted an SUV and driver who matched the suspect’s description.
The trooper wrote down the license plate, which allowed police to take Colon-Ortiz’s DNA. That matched evidence taken from the crime scene, prosecutors said.
After her death, the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation was created in her honor. The group has helped thousands of women learn self-defense skills through workshops, prosecutors said. It also educated people about violence prevention, runner safety and healthy relationships.
“Every 68 seconds a person is assaulted in the United States, and one in ten girls have experienced harassment,” said Caroline Tocci and Ashley McNiff, co-founders of the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation. “Vanessa would have wanted us to take action. She’d be proud of what we’re accomplishing in her honor to make the world a safer place.”
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