Detectives are investigating 23 tips from the public after cops last week released a sketch of a possible witness to the killing of a Howard Beach jogger, a top NYPD official said Tuesday.
The sketch of a bearded man in a stocking hat sparked an increase in calls, bringing the total up to 122 related to the Aug. 2 slaying of Karina Vetrano, said chief of detectives Robert Boyce during a briefing with reporters.
Last week, police said the man depicted in the sketch was not a suspect, but Boyce told reporters Tuesday its release has helped investigators.
“That sketch provided a big increase in those tips,” said Boyce, adding that he still believes the crime was the result of a random attack.
More than a month after Vetrano was found strangled and sexually assaulted in Spring Creek Park, police still have no suspect and appear no closer to making an arrest, said law enforcement officials. A city reward stands at $35,000 while a Go Fund Me campaign started by Vetrano’s family has pulled in over $270,000.
Vetrano, 30, left her home alone at about 5:30 p.m., Aug. 2 to go jogging in the nearby park, police said. When she didn’t return home as expected, her family contacted police. Vetrano’s body was found later that night.
Boyce said DNA recovered at the crime scene is being analyzed but so far there is no match with any known profile in state and national databases.
Law enforcement officials said the DNA has also been undergoing a “familial” analysis to see if the sample is a partial match to any profiles in the databases as way of perhaps finding a relative of the suspect.
One law enforcement official said Tuesday that attempts to examine satellite imagery to get a lead appear to have not panned out.
Detectives who had been working the Aug. 13 homicides of Queens imam Maulana Akonjee, and his aide Thara Uddin, as well as last week’s slaying of Bangladeshi immigrant Nazma Khanam, 60, of Jamaica Hills, are now back on the Vetrano case, Boyce said. Suspects have been arrested in the Akonjee and Khanam cases.