Metro

Police seek public’s help in murder investigation

PRINCETON — Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. said Tuesday that police have received hundreds of tips from an anonymous hotline set up in hopes of solving the murder of Vanessa Marcotte, a 27-year-old Boston University graduate whose body was found in the woods Sunday after she went for an afternoon run.

“I can’t overemphasize that the tips that are coming in have provided us with a lot of good information,” Early said at an afternoon news conference in this small Central Massachusetts town.

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He said investigators are asking anyone who was in the Princeton area Sunday who saw anything unusual to call the hot line, 508-453-7589.

“Any information may be relevant,” he said. “We’re still early in the investigation.”

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He said authorities have not ruled anything out and are “taking any information as it comes in.”

“We’re considering anyone and everyone who could have committed this crime,” he said.

Marcotte’s slaying was the first murder in the affluent rural community in 30 years, officials said.

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“We are asking for the public’s help in finding the person or persons who killed Ms. Marcotte,’’ State Police wrote on their Facebook page. “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.’’

Police are looking for information from people “who may have seen anything suspicious on Sunday afternoon, or who may have seen someone or something that just seemed to not look right for the surroundings.’’

The tip line is 508-453-7589 and callers may remain anonymous.

Marcotte had been visiting her mother in Princeton for a few days when she went jogging Sunday on Brooks Station Road around 1 p.m. When she failed to return home, authorities launched a missing person’s search around 4 p.m.

Her body was found at 8:20 p.m. Sunday in the woods off Brooks Station Road about a half-mile from her mother’s home. Officials are trying to determine if she was sexually assaulted. There were indications her body had been burned, a law enforcement official briefed on the case said.

Marcotte was a Leominster native and a 2011 graduate of Boston University who had been working for Google in New York City. Authorities are urging residents in Princeton to pay close attention to their surroundings.

“I must stress that we do not know if this was a random act,” Early said at a news conference Monday. “We are asking residents of Princeton and surrounding areas to use an abundance of caution. We are asking the public to be careful and to be vigilant.”

Princeton Police Chief Michele Powers said Monday that “we are concerned about the safety of town residents and ask people to pay attention to their surroundings.”

Early said Monday there was “nothing at this point” to connect Marcotte’s killing to last week’s murder of Karina Vetrano, who was killed while jogging last Tuesday near her home in Queens, N.Y.

Michael Levenson can be reached at mlevenson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson.Trisha Thadani can be reached at trisha.thadani@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @TrishaThadani
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