Father of Howard Beach jogger Karina Vetrano announces GoFundMe page

HOWARD BEACH, Queens (WABC) -- The father of Karina Vetrano said Wednesday that he could not be any more determined to find his daughter's killer.

Phil Vetrano announced that a new GoFundMe page had been created in her honor.

As of Thursday morning, the digital fundraising site had brought in about $177,000. He said he is confident it will raise $100,000 to add to the $20,000 reward from the New York City Police Department already in place to find her killer.

"Somebody knows something. Somebody's got to say something," he said. "With this amount of money, maybe they will. There are leads coming in. They are following every single lead. They are tracking everything down, but what we need, we need someone to say, 'I know the guy.'"

Karina Vetrano, 30, left for her daily run at about 5 p.m. last week on a trail in Spring Creek Park in the Howard Beach neighborhood, police said. She was found hours later in the area and an autopsy showed that she died from strangulation. Her clothes were in disarray, indicating a possible sexual assault, said police, who are still searching for her assailant.

Phil Vetrano said he is staying involved in the search. "If I wake up and there is nothing for me to do, that's when the bottom is going to drop out, so I have to stay involved. Today it's this, this is keeping me alive today," Vetrano said.

The Karina Vetrano Memorial Reward Fund, a GoFundMe page, says it has been "established in the name of Karina Vetrano. A beautiful. vivacious 30-year-old woman who was brutally murdered on the night of August 2nd when she went out for her nightly jog only blocks from her home in Howard Beach. We are a committee of 5 people who represent the Howard Beach community, and we are joined by Karina's parents, Cathy and Phil, in establishing this page."

The case has also sparked fear in the Howard Beach community because residents have voiced concerns about the area known as "the weeds" for years. It is federal land and that means red tape.

"They got to repair all the holes in the fences, all that's got to be repaired. They have the money, but it's got to come down to this, disgusting," said Philip Guarnieri, a Vetrano family friend.

Some in the area are even calling for the feds to "burn the weeds down," but not Karina's father.

"That was her happy place, it is nature. I don't want to burn the weeds down, I want to keep it the way it is, but I want to keep it safe," Vetrano said.

Vetrano called his daughter's attacker a vicious predator.

He also appealed to all firefighters across the country, making the point that he worked during Sept. 11 and that people always thank him for his service.

"This is what you can do for me now -- help and contribute to this GoFundMe page," he said. "The family has not even begun to grieve."

The page says that "every dollar from you will help to bring her family and our community one step closer to the only thing that can help now and that is an arrest and conviction."

Go to the Karina Vetrano Memorial Reward FundGoFundMe page.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
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