WORCESTER, Mass. — A 31-year-old man was arrested at his home in connection to the death of a young woman found raped and murdered in Princeton last year, according to Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early.
“We got him,” Early said at the start of a news conference Saturday. "We're very confident we've got Vanessa Marcotte's killer."
Angelo Colon Ortiz, 31, was arrested for the murder of Vanessa Marcotte in August of 2016. Early said he was working in the area at the time of Marcotte’s disappearance.
According to Early, DNA was obtained from Marcotte’s hands during an autopsy.
A state police trooper spotted a dark-SUV driven by a person matching the description of the suspect and wrote the license plate number down on his hand. When police followed up, they were able to identify Ortiz and get a DNA sample from him.
State investigators matched that DNA Friday and arrested Angelo Ortiz. The family was notified early Saturday morning. In a statement, they thanked the District Attorney's office, State Police, Princeton Police and the entire community for the work that led to the arrest.
“Seasons changed, holidays came and passed and Vanessa Marcotte’s family waited and waited,” Massachusetts State Police Colonel Richard McKeon said. “Investigators never stopped working.”
Ortiz is charged with Aggravated assault and aggravated assault with intent to rape.
“I anticipate there will be a murder charge,” Early said. “There’s some evidence we have that puts him in the area…but we’re not comfortable disclosing that. This all came together rather quickly.”
The DNA sequence matched to Ortiz occurs only once in about 1.1 quintillion sequences, according to Early. That's why, he says, investigators are so sure they've found their suspect.
Ortiz was in the area of Princeton during last August, said police, though he is from Worcester. Early said they are still verifying his employment and records that would place him in the area.
The Marcotte family said the arrest is temporary euphoria, but they are happy to take a step toward justice.
"She was a beautiful, intelligent, and generous young woman whose passion for giving back to the community will always be remembered. As we move forward, her spirit will live on through The Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation that strives to empower women to live boldly and fearlessly," they said in a statement.
Neighbors and the community said they never gave up hope in the pursuit of justice for the Marcottes.
Colon Ortiz is scheduled to be arraigned next week.
WHAT LEAD UP TO THE ARREST: