Google employee, 27, killed while jogging; found ‘without clothes,’ burns on head, feet, hands

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PRINCETON, Mass. — Investigators say the death of New York City woman visiting her mother in a rural Massachusetts town appears to be a homicide.

Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said Monday that 27-year-old Vanessa Marcotte was reported missing after failing to return from a Sunday afternoon walk in Princeton.

Her body was found at about 8 p.m. Sunday by a state police canine unit in a wooded area about a half-mile from her mother’s home. The death is being investigated as a homicide and an autopsy is underway.

According to WCVB, a source close to the investigation said Marcotte was found without her clothes and had burns on her head, feet, and hands.

It’s unclear if the death was a random act of violence. Princeton police Chief Michele Powers is urging town residents to remain vigilant.

Marcotte was a Google account manager who lived in New York City at the time of her death. According to her LinkedIn profile, Marcotte had been at Google since January 2015 and was working as part of the company’s health care division.

“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,” a Google spokesperson said. “We are deeply shocked and saddened, and our thoughts are with her family and friends.”

Marcotte graduated with honors in 2011 from Boston University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in communications. Upon graduating, she worked at an online marketing software startup in Boston called WordStream.

Princeton is located about 40 miles west of Boston and has about 3,500 residents. Early says Marcotte grew up in nearby Leominster.