A 27-year-old Google employee who was found dead in the woods on Sunday had been stripped naked and partially burned, according to multiple reports.
Vanessa Marcotte, who lived and worked in New York City, was visiting her mother in Princeton, Massachusetts – a rural town about an hour west of Boston – when she disappeared during a Sunday jog, CBS Boston reports.
Authorities reportedly located her naked body with burns to the face, hands and feet Sunday evening about a half mile from her mother’s home, CBS Boston reports, citing law enforcement sources.
“People should be concerned,” Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said Monday, CBS Boston.
Early announced the death is being investigated as a homicide based on evidence at the scene.
“I must stress that we do not know if this is a random act,” he said. “We’re asking the residents of Princeton to use an abundance of caution.”
According to the WCVB, police were focusing their investigation on the hours of 1 p.m., when she first left her mother’s home, and 4 p.m. Marcotte’s body was reportedly found at 8:20 p.m.
Investigators were also looking into the possibility of sexual assault, the The Boston Globe reports.
The Google team mourned the loss of the Boston University graduate.
“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,” a spokesperson for Google said in a written statement, according to CBS Boston. “We are deeply shocked and saddened, and our thoughts are with her family and friends.”
In addition to warning residents to be vigilant, police are also asking for the public’s help with the case and are urging anyone with information to contact them at 508-453-7589.
Marcotte’s death comes less than a week after a 30-year-old woman was strangled to death during a run in Queens, New York.
Karina Vetrano’s father called police she didn’t return from her daily jog through Gateway National Park, which is a few blocks from her home. He went out with police and discovered her body 15 feet from the jogging trail.
Authorities said there’s evidence to suggest Vertrano was sexually assaulted before being strangled to death.