Crime Watch Daily, a news program airing on WPIX-TV, revealed on Monday the video showing the 30-year-old Vetrano jogging with her earphones on a street near the Gateway National Recreational Area on the afternoon of Aug. 2. She left her 84th Street home at 5 p.m. that afternoon and never returned.
Hours later, her beaten body was discovered in the area of the park near the corner of 161st Avenue and 78th Street. An autopsy concluded that Vetrano was severely beaten, raped and strangled.
The crime shook the entire neighborhood, but the effort to solve the case has been greatly affected by a lack of evidence and witnesses. The NYPD was able to create a DNA profile of Vetrano’s killer based on evidence recovered from the crime scene, but the DNA did not match anyone currently in the state DNA databank.
The NYPD also released a sketch of a mystery man known to frequent the park. Although he was ruled out as a potential suspect, police officials believe this man might have seen Vetrano’s killer on the day of the murder, or might have other information that may prove helpful in solving the heinous crime.
Howard Beach residents also did their part to help police in their investigation by creating a reward fund for the individual who would provide information leading to an arrest. More than $273,000 has been contributed to the reward fund, which would supplement the $45,000 reward already being offered by the city.
Even so, more than six weeks after Vetrano was killed, police are no closer to making an arrest in the case.
As the investigation continues, Howard Beach residents continue to seek ways to feel safer in their community. The Howard Beach-Lindenwood Civic Association announced last week on its Facebook page the creation of a special hotline for local residents to support suspicious individuals or activity in the area.
The hotline was formed in partnership with the 106th Precinct after hearing reports regarding 911 operators being resistant to addressing reports of suspicious activity in the area. The civic group stressed that the number be used responsibly.
Howard Beach residents can report suspicious individuals or activities to 718-845-2225.
Meanwhile, anyone with information regarding the Vetrano murder that could prove helpful is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.