Authorities allege that the man arrested in connection with the August 2016 slaying of 27-year-old Google employee Vanessa Marcotte appeared like a stranded motorist around the same time she left her mother’s home to go for a jog.
According to The Boston Globe and MassLive.com, prosecutors claimed in court Tuesday that Angelo Colon-Ortiz, 31, was spotted by an area resident around 12:45 p.m. on Aug. 7, 2016, standing next to a black SUV stopped near “where Marcotte’s body was later recovered” in Princeton, Massachusetts.
The vehicle’s hood was up and the man was on the phone, so the area resident continued driving, the Globe reports.
The same resident later passed the same location around 2:05 p.m., according to the paper — only the hood on the vehicle was down, the windows were closed and the man he had seen earlier was nowhere to be found.
The resident reportedly said he thought nothing about it until authorities issued a public appeal in Marcotte’s case, seeking anyone who had been in the neighborhood on the day of her death.
Authorities say Marcotte went out about 1:15 p.m., either to walk or jog, and her phone was turned off about 2:11 p.m., according to the Globe. She was found dead near Brooks Station Road in Princeton, a few hours later.
Marcotte lived in New York City but had returned to Massachusetts for a visit, officials said. They said her body was stripped and had burn marks.
Reports indicate Colon-Ortiz’s cellphone was within the Princeton area around the time Marcotte was attacked.
Her slaying went without an arrest for months, as investigators received hundreds of tips. A person of interest in the case was announced in February, and Colon-Ortiz was taken into custody last weekend.
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According to CBS Boston, quoting the suspect’s arrest report, Marcotte’s nose was broken and she had “crushing” injuries to her throat. Prosecutors have not yet released her cause of death.
Authorities say Colon-Ortiz was allegedly connected to the crime when a state trooper recently spotted a Hispanic man driving a black SUV in Worcester, Massachusetts, according to CBS Boston.
Colon-Ortiz, the driver, was asked to supply a DNA sample, and investigators allege his genetic material matched skin fragments recovered from beneath Marcotte’s fingernails.
Defense Responds: Suspect Is ‘Shaken’
Colon-Ortiz, who was born in Puerto Rico and has a wife and two children, is being held on $10 million bail. He reportedly worked as a truck driver.
He pleaded not guilty at his Tuesday arraignment to charges of aggravated assault, aggravated assault and battery and assault with intent to rape, PEOPLE confirms. Prosecutors say he will be charged with murder next week.
Defense attorney Edward P. Ryan Jr. spoke to the Globe and said Colon-Ortiz is “shaken” by the allegations against him.
Ryan told the paper he will investigate what transpired when his client allowed Massachusetts State Police to collect the DNA sample that authorities allege connects him to Marcotte’s murder.
“This case raises a number of significant legal issues,” Ryan told reporters before Tuesday’s arraignment, adding he has already hired a legal expert on the use of DNA in criminal cases.
Marcotte’s family declined in February to comment on updates in the case and did not speak to reporters at Colon-Ortiz’s arraignment, according to the Globe.
The suspect is due back in court for a pre-trial hearing on May 24. Neither prosecutors nor his defense attorney returned messages seeking comment.