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Slain jogger investigation mulls use of satellite images, source says

Karina Vetrano, 30, of Howard Beach, Queens, was

Karina Vetrano, 30, of Howard Beach, Queens, was found slain in the marshes of Spring Creek Park, near 161st Avenue and 78th Street in Howard Beach, on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016. Credit: Facebook tribute page

Officials have mulled the use of satellite imagery of the Howard Beach area at the time jogger Karina Vetrano was slain as police continue to press their search for her killer, a law enforcement source said.

The NYPD already had the services of an FBI drone, which flew over the crime scene in the days immediately after Vetrano was killed Aug. 2 while she jogged through Spring Creek Park, part of the Gateway National Recreation area.

Use of satellite imagery was something that has been discussed, the source said. It was unclear Thursday if any high altitude pictures exist showing the terrain and crime scene at the time of the attack, believed to have been right after Vetrano left her home on 84th Street about 5:30 p.m. that Tuesday.

U.S. Defense Department satellites can show objects down to a matter of a few inches, according to published reports. If a passing satellite took images on that day they might show Vetrano leaving her home, running or whether anyone else was in the area, the source said.

On Thursday, a high-ranked NYPD official said police were continuing to pull out all stops in the case, including requesting voluntary DNA samples from people in the area. Police recovered a good DNA sample from the crime scene but had not yet matched it to anyone.

“We are either going to get it or not going to get it,” the official said, referring to making an arrest.

A GoFundMe page was set up by Vetrano’s father, Phillip, in an effort to boost reward money — and smoke out new leads for investigators — had pulled in $215,910 as of 10:15 p.m. Thursday.

“Somebody knows something. Somebody has to say something, and with this amount of money maybe they will,” Vetrano said Wednesday. “What we need is someone to say ‘Hello, I know the guy.’ ”

The fund can be found at the GoFundMe website under Karina Vetrano Memorial Fund.

Vetrano told Newsday the money donated through the website would be added to $25,000 being held in a different account. The city’s reward money — $20,000 — is separate.

The body of Karina Vetrano, 30, was found in Spring Creek Park on Aug. 2 about 10:40 p.m. by her father and police. Officials said she had been strangled and sexually assaulted.

She had gone for her usual run about 5:30 p.m. in the nearby federal wetlands area.

Phillip Vetrano said he remained involved in the case as a way of helping the family — himself included — cope with the tragedy.

“If I wake up and there is nothing for me to do, that is when the bottom is going to drop out,” he told reporters. “So I have to stay involved every day, in every way.”

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