Police are searching for fresh clues to help solve the rape and murder of a jogger in Queens, New York City, according to reports on Monday (8 August), while the mother of the victim called her daughter's killer a "pathetic, puny, weak piece of filth."
Retired New York City firefighter Philip Vetrano was suffering from back pain so he skipped his usual twilight jog with his daughter, Karina, in Queens. When she didn't return home at the expected time, he went looking for her. He found her battered body in the middle of a running path on the evening of Tuesday, 2 August.
Cathy Vetrano, mother to the victim, spoke to reporters following her daughter's funeral on Sunday (7 August), attended by her husband and a close congregation of relatives, friends and supporters.
"My daughter was a force to be reckoned with," said Karina's enraged mother, her hands shaking as she spoke outside the family's Howard Beach home.
"And I guarantee you, you motherf****r, that you will be reckoning with that force, not only for the rest of your pathetic life, but for the rest of eternity as you burn in hell. I guarantee you — you will pay, forever."
Karina Vetrano fought desperately for her life, according to police. Investigators believe she was jumped by her attacker hiding in high weeds as she jogged past him in a quiet area of Spring Creek Park.
"Her teeth were broken," a police source told the New York Daily News. "She was black and blue."
She had pulled up tufts of grass and the marks of a furious struggle were evident in the dirt. She was dragged off the path where she was strangled. Vetrano had just broken up with her boyfriend, but police said he has an alibi. Investigators believe she was attacked by a stranger.
Police are currently testing evidence "with a strong potential for DNA recovery" which was recovered from the scene, with test results expected in a few days time. In addition, Vetrano's headphones and a single sneaker, which police believe were flung away by the attacker, have been recovered, and may provide a fingerprint link to the killer.
Meanwhile, investigators reportedly used an FBI drone to survey the park from the sky to search for any evidence and signs of where the attacker may have entered and exited the park.