Metro

Investigators in Princeton jogger murder case seek dark-colored SUV

PRINCETON, MA - 8/08/2016:A handout photo of the victim Vanessa Marcotte who went jogging in Princeton, Mass., and was found dead. The death of a woman in her 20s who went out for a jog in the Central Massachusetts town of Princeton on Sunday is considered suspicious, a law enforcement official said Monday. (David L Ryan/Globe Staff Photo) SECTION: METRO TOPIC 09princeton(2)
David L. Ryan/Globe staff
Vanessa Marcotte.

Detectives investigating the August slaying of Vanessa Marcotte, a 27-year-old jogger whose body was found in a wooded area in Princeton, are trying to locate the driver of a dark-colored SUV that was spotted near the crime scene.

The office of Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. announced the development in the closely watched case on Wednesday afternoon.

Prosecutors said in a statement that the SUV was “seen around the time of the murder near where [Marcotte’s] body was found,” near her mother’s home on Brooks Station Road, on the evening of Aug. 7.

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Marcotte, a Google employee who lived in New York City, was visiting family when she went out for a jog and never returned to her mother’s residence.

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Early has said previously that investigators determined her attacker was a man. Investigators have also said Marcotte struggled with her attacker and probably left him with scratches, scrapes, and bruising.

“State Police detectives and Princeton police have asked that area law enforcement agencies be vigilant and mindful of this homicide investigation when interacting with men operating or occupying a dark-colored SUV,” the statement said.

Prosecutors said detectives “welcome any and all information about men who had access to a dark-colored SUV on Aug. 7 and were in or around Princeton.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the dedicated tip line at 508-453- 7589.Officials said in September that investigators had received more than 1,000 tips from the public.

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At her funeral Aug. 16 at Our Lady of the Lake Church in Leominster, the Rev. Dennis O’Brien urged mourners to remember how Marcotte, a Boston University graduate who was recalled by friends as loving and compassionate, had lived.

“Her death should not be the headline story,” he said. “The headline story that the entire world needs to see and read is the love that she lived every single day of her life.”

Andy Rosen of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com.