An accomplished cybersecurity executive who once consulted for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was reportedly killed in her Maryland home by her own son.
Andrew Beavers, 23, who lived with his mother, Juanita Koilpillai, 58 at her house on Genoa Road in Tracys Landing, was arrested Saturday in Leesburg, Virginia, and charged with first- and second-degree murder, the Capital Gazette reported.
Sri Lanka-born Koilpillai — whom a close friend described as a “certifiable genius” – was reported missing by her boyfriend on July 25 after he found blood in her home, according to the news outlet.
Police later discovered her body hidden outside and her car in Leesburg, Virginia, where the suspect’s father lives and where his mother had another residence, the Gazette said.
When police interviewed Beavers a day after Koilpillai’s body was found, they noticed he had a fresh cut on his right hand that he could not explain.
The medical examiner has determined that the woman died from multiple injuries from a sharp object. Beavers’ and Koilpillai’s DNA has been found on a knife, according to the report.
Koilpillai, who created several successful cybersecurity start-ups, moved to the waterfront home in Tracys Landing on the Chesapeake Bay and was enjoying a new chapter in her life with her boyfriend, friends told the outlet.
She was described her as a master gardener, a talented chef, a charismatic hostess and a brilliant tech professional who flew planes and produced community films with her ex-husband.
“I’ll say (she was) a certifiable genius,” Ron Martin, a close friend and professor at Capitol Technology University, told the Capital Gazette.
Koilpillai studied math at Women’s Christian College in Madras, India, and earned a master’s in computer science and math at University of Kansas, the outlet reported.
She worked in computer security and network management for 30 years, and contributed to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Her best friend Connie Moore said Koilpillai also served as a consultant to the SEC.
Koilpillai was a member of FEMA’s enterprise security management team and served as a principal investigator for multiple Defense Department initiatives, according to her bio for Cloud Security Alliance.
Along with her ex-husband, she created Cyberwolf, an advanced automated attack warning system used by the government. They later sold it to cybersecurity software giant Symantec, according to the Gazette.
“To grow a startup into a great company and then sell it to a bigger technology company was an incredible accomplishment,” Moore told the paper.
“But to do it as a woman, to do it as a as a person of color, just speaks volumes about her tenacity, about her brilliance, about her business acumen, about her technology expertise, it was extraordinary,” she added. “Then, she did it again.”
Koilpillai then founded and was CEO of Waverley Labs and started a new high-tech cybersecurity start-up “Resiliant” – and received a Homeland Security grant to bring the software to the commercial market, according to the report.
“The vision she had for Resiliant … she said all this time, ‘We’ve had these cybersecurity problems (such as ransomware attacks); I still haven’t solved them. I’ve got something that can solve it,’” Peter Zawadzki, a friend, partner and manager at Resiliant, told the Gazette.
Moore said Koilpillai “was just so happy” to be in Arundel County, where she immersed herself in Chesapeake life, took sailing lessons and photographed marina sunsets and wildlife.
“We never could understand how she did it all. Because her friends were friends that did it all too, but we didn’t do it all at her level,” he said. “She was off the charts, living a full life in every aspect.”
Her son has been held pending extradition back to Arundel County.