A man arrested in connection with the death of a New York City woman jogging near her mother's MA home last summer was tied the crime scene through DNA and cellphone evidence, as well as eyewitness reports, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Angelo Colon-Ortiz, 31, of Worcester, was arraigned Tuesday in connection with the murder of Vanessa Marcotte.
The body of 27-year-old Marcotte was found August 7 in some woods about a half-mile from her mother's house, where the young woman was visiting family. When she failed to return home, Marcotte's mother called police.
"He looked at the driver of the vehicle and it matched our suspect". Marcotte's alleged killer remained free until Friday, when he was arrested after a DNA test found a match.
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According to the Globe, a state trooper spotted a Hispanic man driving a black SUV in Worcester. When Colon-Ortiz didn't respond, the trooper later returned to the home and obtained a voluntary DNA sample from Colon-Ortiz. An alert state trooper spotted Colon-Ortiz while on another assignment.
Authorities say Marcotte fought her attacker and DNA taken from her hands helped solve the case.
Worcester County district attorney Joseph Early Jr. said Marcotte put up a fight during her deadly assault, which helped police piece together a profile of her murderer.
They said he worked for FedEx and would occasionally drive routes through the Princeton area, although he is not believed to have been working at the time of the offense.
Ryan told reporters after the arraignment that because of a language barrier Colon-Ortiz may not have understood what he was doing when he submitted a buccal swab to investigators.
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Prosecutors have been in touch with federal immigration officials to determine Ortiz-Colon's immigration status.
Ortiz-Colon moved to MA from Puerto Rico about a year ago and there is "no question" he is a US citizen, Ryan said.
Speaking before the hearing, the suspect's lawyer said his client has no criminal record and the case is no slam dunk. State Police spokesman David Procopio told the newspaper that the Department of Homeland Security "has no file" on Colon-Ortiz.
"To this point, we have no information that suggests he is in the country illegally". He had no criminal history in MA or Puerto Rico.
A suspect now in custody has brought the family some peace, Tocci said, but she added, "Our goal now is just helping other women who are in these situations".
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