Investigators say they believe the New York City woman who went for a run near her mother's home in central Massachusetts and was later found dead was attacked by a man and may have injured him in a struggle.
Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said Thursday that 27-year-old Vanessa Marcotte is believed to have struggled with her assailant in Princeton, and that he may have suffered scratches, cuts, scrapes and bruises.
"We would ask that anyone who has observed a male with these types of injuries that would have been fresh earlier in the week to contact the Massachusetts State Police tipline," Early said.
- The phone number for the anonymous tip line is 508-453-7589.
People in the area remain on high alert.
"It's not getting better," said Norman Gratton of Brookfield, not far from Princeton. "We're all probably on the edge about everything. They don't know what's going on."
"It's crazy because it could be anyone," said Peter Gallant. "You could have walked by the guy."
"It is scary," Princeton resident Mick Grigos said. "Nothing like this has ever happened before and it is unusual."
Like many in town, Grigos is hoping for a quick arrest.
"I think there will be a lot more comfort if something, some sort of breakthrough would come through," he said.
State police were back searching the woods near Brooks Station Road on Thursday, the area where Marcotte was found dead Sunday night.
Early said the timeline for the murder has been narrowed down to between 1 and 3 p.m. on Sunday. Anyone who saw a vehicle driving or parked on Brooks Station Road in Princeton during that timeframe is asked to call the tipline.
Marcotte's last known location alive may have been near a restaurant in town. Employees at Mountain Barn Restaurant tell necn her family came there to look for her after her cell phone pinged a tower next door.
Authorities continue to urge residents in the area to remain vigilant, as they still don't know if this was a random act or not.
More than 300 tips have come into the hotline set up for the investigation.
There are more than 24 investigators on the case from Princeton Police, Massachusetts State Police and the district attorney's office.
Early said Marcotte traveled from New York to Princeton frequently to visit her family. Marcotte's father, John Marcotte, told The Boston Globe she was not in a romantic relationship.
Marcotte grew up in nearby Leominster, attended the Bancroft School in Worcester and graduated from Boston University in 2011. She worked as an account executive for Google in New York.
Google said it was "deeply shocked and saddened" by Marcotte's killing.
"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 in a statement.
People in town held a vigil on Tuesday night to honor Marcotte and show support for her family. Town Administrator Nina Nazarian said the slaying has unnerved the town, known for the Wachusett Mountain Ski Area.
"I think there is concern out there, but the townspeople are banding together," Nazarian said.
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 Karina Vetrano was killed while running alone during daylight hours in a secluded area. There is no indication the deaths are connected.