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EXCLUSIVE: Parents of slain tech trailblazer Pava LaPere honor their daughter's legacy

EXCLUSIVE: Parents of slain tech trailblazer Pava LaPere honor their daughter's legacy
EXCLUSIVE: Parents of slain tech trailblazer Pava LaPere honor their daughter's legacy 02:49

BALTIMORE – Frank and Caroline LaPere know their daughter Pava as a "funny, witty, and high energy" person.

The LaPeres returned to Baltimore this week for the third time since their daughter was killed at her Mount Vernon apartment in September.

Pava LaPere was 26 years old and regarded as part of the city's next generation of leaders. She was honored this year as one of Forbes' "30 Under 30."

Baltimore tech CEO Pava LaPere leaves behind a legacy, parents say 03:49

"It gave us a tremendous amount of pride knowing what she accomplished in her years," her father, Frank LaPere, said. "She was daddy's little girl until she wanted to be 'girl boss' and 'daughter boss'."

Pava started EcoMap Technologies when she was still a student at Johns Hopkins University five years ago.

"The joke was, 'Mom and Dad, I'm sorry. I don't have any grandkids for you, but look, I have almost 30 employees,'" her mother, Caroline LaPere, said. "To be such a strong leader at such a young age is very amazing."

The LaPeres first came to Baltimore to attend a vigil for their daughter in Mount Vernon days after she was murdered. Then, they returned to the city to clean out her apartment.

This week, they met with prosecutors ahead of a Saturday afternoon memorial service at Johns Hopkins' Homewood campus.

Jason Billingsley was charged with killing Pava LaPere. He has been charged with murder, arson and rape in separate crimes. He remains in jail without bail. 

Billingsley was arrested on September 27 at a train station in Bowie, Maryland.

"Honestly, it's hard to keep the anger toward Baltimore at bay because we also have to look past what happened and focus on what she saw in this city," Frank LaPere said. "We're really happy to share Pava with Baltimore, and we're glad she started something profound, and we're not going to stop until we see it come to fruition."

Pava LaPere's company, EcoMap, describes her as "a 5'2" giant" and last week announced a fellowship in her honor.  

"We get up every day to keep working to promote her legacy," Frank said.

Her parents say scholarships and endowments are also in the works.

"She got a lot from this city and she wanted to give a lot back and she was in the act of doing that. Well, let's not stop this momentum," Caroline LaPere said.

In addition to Saturday's memorial at Johns Hopkins, the family plans to hold similar events in the spring both in Baltimore and their hometown of Tucson, Arizona.

"We look forward to listening to a lot of different people tell us their stories about Pava," Frank said. "She really walked her talk. Everything she did in her private, personal behind-the-scenes life was exactly what she did out in public."

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