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Police Hunt for Killer of 27-Year-Old Google Worker Found Dead in Massachusetts Woods


"We have a horrible set of facts, a horrible set of circumstances right now."

BOSTON (AP) -- Authorities asked for the public's help Tuesday as they struggled to find the killer or killers of a New York City woman whose body was found in woods near her mother's home in central Massachusetts after she went out for a jog and didn't return.

Residents of Princeton, a sleepy town of about 3,500 about 40 miles west of Boston, were urged to use caution after Vanessa Marcotte's body was found Sunday. Marcotte, a 27-year-old account manager at Google, was visiting her mother.

Police said they did not know if the attack was random or if Marcotte was targeted.

On their Facebook page Tuesday, the Massachusetts State Police said they have set up an anonymous tip line and urged anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area Sunday afternoon to call police.

"We are asking for the public's help in finding the person or persons who killed Ms. Marcotte," state police wrote. "No tip is inconsequential or irrelevant; no matter what it is, please call the tip line, because it may be valuable to investigators seeking justice for Ms. Marcotte."

A driver's license photo released by the Worcester County District Attorney's Office showing Vanessa Marcotte of New York, whose body was found Sunday night in the woods about a half-mile from her mother's home in the town of Princeton, Massachusetts, about 40 miles west of Boston. Worcester County District Attorney's Office via AP

Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said an autopsy was being performed to determine the exact cause of death.

"We have a horrible set of facts, a horrible set of circumstances right now," Early said Monday.

Authorities repeatedly urged the public to use caution and report any suspicious activity.

"We are concerned about the safety of our town residents and visitors that enter our town," Princeton Police Chief Michele Powers said. "We would ask people to pay attention to their surroundings."

Police said the town hasn't had a homicide in three decades.

In a statement Monday, Google said it is "deeply shocked and saddened."

"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.

Marcotte was a 2011 graduate of Boston University, which also mourned her death.

"We're so terribly sad for her family and friends," Colin Riley, the executive director of media relations at Boston University, told ABC News. "They're in our thoughts and prayers."

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 Katrina Vetrano was killed while running alone during daylight hours in a secluded area. There is no indication the deaths are connected.


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