NYPD profiles killer in Howard Beach murder of jogger Karina Vetrano

HOWARD BEACH, Queens (WABC) -- The NYPD has released what it calls a profile of the likely killer of jogger Karina Vetrano, who was murdered in Queens four months ago as she ran along a path in Spring Creek Park.

Police believe the killer is familiar with the park in Howard Beach, where the 30-year-old was strangled and sexually assaulted on August 2. Dad Phil Vetrano says it's only a matter of time until the suspect is caught.

"Justice for my daughter, retribution, that is everything I live for," he said. "That's all I do."

DNA recovered from the crime scene this summer failed to match anyone in either the federal or state databases, but Phil Vetrano is urging investigators to conduct more sophisticated screening called "familial searching" to see if genetic relatives of the killer are in the database.

"You could find the murderer," he said. "You would find a direct link. It would narrow it down tremendously."

The testing is currently used in nine states, but not New York, and Phil Vetrano has established a petition page insisting that change.

"I've thought of every different scenario, every different one. Because that's all I have time to do, is think about what happened and why. I can't come up with a why. I know what happened, but I don't know why."

Authorities say the person who did committed the crime is probably a man who has avoided the park ever since. The killer, they say, may also have gotten scratches and cuts to his arms, face and hands and then later made excuses about them to the people in his life. They're hoping the details of the profile may trigger the memory of anyone who may know the perpetrator.

Surveillance video showed Vetrano out for her usual run prior to the murder, with her family still desperate for a break in the case.

Hair pulled back, in sneakers, shorts and a workout top, it's the last known image of Vetrano, released by the TV show "Crime Watch Daily."

"The video is a small video that captured the victim, in this case, the day she was (sexually assaulted) and murdered," then-NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said when it was released.

The surveillance camera caught Vetrano around 5:46 p.m., briefly running past a parked car. Her body would be found hours later inside the park.

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