The FBI is now participating in the investigation, according to State Senator Joe Addabbo. He told QNS that federal law enforcement is involved largely because Vetrano’s body was found at the Gateway National Recreational Area, which is federal park land.
Vetrano was last seen alive at about 5 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon as she left her 84th Street home to go for a jog. Her father reported her missing later that evening, and her body was discovered at about 11 p.m. amid the marshy, tall weeds of the park off the intersection of 161st Avenue and 78th Street.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said on Thursday there was evidence that Vetrano — who was sexually assaulted before being strangled — had “put up a big fight” against her unidentified, unknown attacker. According to the New York Daily News, Vetrano had broken teeth and severe bruises about her body.
“This woman put up a ferocious fight, right till the end,” Boyce was quoted in the New York Daily News.
Investigators are continuing to comb the area for any evidence related to Vetrano’s death. Leads in the case have been difficult to come by; the NYPD has received just a handful of tips through its Crime Stoppers hotline. At a press conference, Boyce described the tips as being “very indescriptive [sic] … nothing very concrete at all.”
He also revealed that the last known contact with Vetrano came just after 5 p.m. Tuesday, when she sent a text message to a friend just after she started her run. The text did not contain anything which indicated she was in harm.
“She should have returned about 40 minutes later, but she didn’t,” Boyce said.
Crime Stoppers is now offering a $10,000 reward — four times the usual amount — for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of Vetrano’s killer.
Anyone with any information regarding the murder is asked to call Detective Christian Quezada of the 106th Precinct Detective Squad at 718-845-2261 or Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. Information may also be sent to Crime Stoppers online at its website or via text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.
Vetrano is scheduled to be laid to rest tomorrow, with a funeral Mass in the morning at St. Helen’s Church in Howard Beach.
City Councilman Eric Ulrich announced that he along with Addabbo, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a meeting on Monday night at St. Helen’s regarding the Vetrano case and the city’s response to it. Representatives of the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies are scheduled to attend.
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. on Monday night and is open to the public; St. Helen’s is located at 157-10 83rd St.