Killer of Howard Beach’s Karina Vetrano still at large three months after her murder

One of many posters in the Howard Beach area that asked for the public's help in finding the person who killed Karina Vetrano.
Photo: Anthony Giudice/QNS

Will the murder of Karina Vetrano ever be solved?

Wednesday, Nov. 2, marks the three-month anniversary of the death of Vetrano, a 30-year-old Howard Beach woman who went out for a run on the afternoon of Aug. 2 and never returned home. She was found hours later raped and strangled in the weeds of Spring Creek Park, about a half-mile from her 84th Street home.


The extraordinarily violent nature of the crime shook the entire neighborhood to its core, and a desperate search began for the person responsible for her murder. The NYPD was joined by the FBI in combing through the park (which is part of the Gateway National Recreational Area) looking for any evidence and clues related to the killing.

In the days and weeks that followed, detectives were able to gather enough genetic evidence to develop a DNA profile of the killer. That profile, however, did not match anyone currently listed in any federal or state DNA databank of convicted felons.

The NYPD also received more than a hundred tips from the public and issued a composite sketch of a man known to frequent the park where Vetrano was found murdered, identifying him as a possible witness. That man has yet to come forward. A security video from a nearby home showing Karina Vetrano running in the last moments of her life, shown on tabloid TV program “Crime Watch Daily,” also failed to produce any substantial leads in the case.

Despite those developments, a massive reward offer and impassioned pleas from Karina’s parents, Cathy and Phil Vetrano, police are no closer to solving the murder now than they were in August. When contacted by QNS, the NYPD said there were no new updates regarding the investigation, and declined a request for an interview about it.

Karina Vetrano (Photo via Instagram)

Phil Vetrano has been continuing to update everyone on the case on the GoFundMe page set up for the Karina Vetrano Memorial Reward Fund, a community-organized campaign that (to date) has raised more than $284,000 in reward money for the person who can provide tips that lead to an arrest and conviction of his daughter’s killer.

On Thursday, Oct. 27, Phil Vetrano wrote in a message that he believed “we are at an impasse with the investigation” and that he has been “in contact with some very professional private investigators” to help in solving the case.

QNS reached out to him for further comment and is awaiting a response.

As the search for Karina Vetrano’s killer continues, the NYPD has taken steps to boost security in the area of Spring Creek Park. Through an allocation from Borough President Melinda Katz, the NYPD installed eight security cameras near the park. The cameras can zoom in up to a half-mile away and record footage that police can review as part of an investigation.

“We have police on horseback. We have various units deployed,” said Joann Ariola, president of the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association. “The fact that we still have such a presence shows that they’re committed” to solving this case.

But for the Vetrano family and much of the Howard Beach community, only the capture of Karina Vetrano’s killer will restore a full sense of safety and security to the area.

Anyone with information regarding the Karina Vetrano murder is urged 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.

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