On August 2, Karina Vetrano went for her usual evening run, deciding to jog through a park near her home in Queens. Vetrano’s father, Philip, usually went running with his daughter but had stayed at home due to a bad back. He warned her not to run down that trail, but she had assured him “It’s OK, Daddy, I’ll be all right.” That night, the 30-year-old was found by her father in the Spring Creek marshland, strangled to death and sexually assaulted. Vetrano had tried to fight her attacker but ultimately lost.
NYPD authorities have just released a sketch of a man who they want to talk to about Vetrano’s death. He was seen leaving Spring Creek park around the time Vetrano was killed. Police say the man is not believed to be the killer or a suspect of any kind but is instead someone they would like to speak to in order to potentially develop additional leads.
Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce was filmed by WPIX, explaining why this person is of interest. “He was seen on the pathway of the Belt Parkway, which is in the north end of the park, of Spring Creek Park. That’s why we’re putting it out,” he said. “We want to speak to this person because we feel that he was there.”
Boyce described the man as a black male who is 35 to 45 years old. “He’s 5’10” with a medium build. He was wearing dark pants with a red T-shirt, and if you’ll notice the dark wool hat.” The sketch was given by a utility worker who was in the area at the time. The worker said he saw the figure near the top of the park. Police don’t know if the man went into East New York or Ozone Park, according to Boyce.
Authorities have already ruled out another unknown jogger from being involved in Vetrano’s death. Vetrano’s father believed that the jogger was involved in her murder after revealing that he used to run the same route as her but has since vanished in recent weeks. He talked about the importance of the other jogger on Curtis Sliwa’s talk show, explaining that the other person might have seen or know something. However, police report that the unidentified man, 48, voluntarily came forward after hearing the father’s appeal and revealed he stopped running because he injured his knee.
DNA was found on Vetrano’s body, but it didn’t match to anyone in police records, leaving investigators scrambling for more clues. Vetrano’s father has previously hinted that he knows who the suspected killer is, urging one of their relatives to report to the police. “We know there is a family member of the killer that we need for them to come forward, to finalize this very quickly,” he told the New York Post. “She is in great distress. We know she wants to make that call. Make that call.”
The family is offering over $300,000 in reward money raised via GoFundMe for information leading to the killer. Vetrano’s father has urged the relative to come forward. “The [reward] money is there. I guarantee the money. If she waits any longer, someone else is going to claim that fund,” he said. “The time is now to make that call and get that money.” Vetrano has even promised that money will go to the murderer themselves, should they turn themselves in to police.
Hopefully, it won’t come down to that and this mystery witness will come forward to offer new information for these desperate parents.