A top NYPD official on Wednesday expressed cautious optimism detectives might be able to solve the slaying of Howard Beach jogger Karina Vetrano.
“I think we will make an arrest in the case,” chief of detectives Robert Boyce said when questioned about the Aug. 2 strangulation and sexual assault of the 31-year-old woman as she jogged in Spring Creek Park near her home. She went for a run about 5:30 p.m. that night and was found dead about 10:30 p.m.
Since the killing and the release of a sketch of man police were seeking as a possible witness to the crime, Boyce said authorities have received more than 170 calls and 12 of the tips remained open for investigation. Queens detectives have been following numerous leads and canvassing the areas of Howard Beach, Lindenwood in Queens and parts of the East New York section of Brooklyn, investigators said.
Police obtained three samples of DNA from Vetrano’s body but have so far been unable to match them with any known profiles in state and national databases. Investigators also are attempting to do a familial match on the DNA in an effort to locate possible relatives of the person whose DNA was left on the victim’s body.
Earlier this week, Vetrano’s father, Philip, announced on a GoFundMe page, which has raised almost $280,000 in reward money, that he plans to start a separate fund for a private investigation. The money currently in the fund is in addition to $35,000 reward being put up by the city.
“The reward is high enough,” Philip Vetrano said in a page posting. “I want to start a fund to catch the killer, that would be used to hire outside sources to track down and bring this person to justice.”
Boyce called Philip Vetrano a “partner” in the investigation who is briefed every day by detectives on developments. The victim’s father usually jogged with his daughter but couldn’t on the evening she was killed because of a nagging back injury.
“They are working extremely hard to follow leads,” Vetrano told Newsday Wednesday about the investigative work by the NYPD. “I am in touch with police every day and they tell me what they can tell me. . . . they are optimistic.”
Philip Vetrano, 60, said he and about 50 other runners plan to take part in Sunday’s Tunnel to Towers run wearing purple shirts embossed with the initials “KV” honoring his daughter.