Four months after the killing of Howard Beach jogger Karina Vetrano, the NYPD has a profile of the attacker and is releasing details in the hopes it might spark recognition with the public and led to a break in the case.
The person who strangled and sexually assaulted the 30-year-old woman as she jogged Aug. 2 in Spring Creek Park near her home is believed to still be at large, according to a profile assembled by law enforcement experts for the NYPD.
Detectives obtained viable DNA samples of the attacker from Vetrano’s body but have been unable to match it with any profiles in state or federal databases. Despite hundreds of calls and tips, police essentially haven’t found solid leads and hope the profile can help.
“It continues to be a very active case,” NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis said. “If this sparks anybody’s memory, give us a call.”
The person is someone who may have frequented the parkland for a number of reasons, such as recreation, drug and alcohol use or as shelter, according to the profile description.
“The person who committed the assault is likely familiar with the park for days, weeks, or months before the assault and was likely a familiar face to others who use the park on a regular basis,” according to the profile of a male killer, a copy of which was provided to Newsday.
“Following the assault on Karina, he likely stopped visiting or living in the park abruptly,” the report stated. “He may have moved his recreational activities or residence to another area of the borough.”
Police said that the killer may have suggested to friends that he was now avoiding the park due to the “danger” in the area. The park is frequented by homeless people, as well as recreational drug and alcohol users, according to police. Some areas also are used by anglers and dirt bike riders, police said. Earlier, police put out a sketch of a man who may have seen something.
The bare-bones profile description assembled by the NYPD in consultation with experts is more of a summary of behavior the killer may have exhibited and not a physical description. The report notes that in the hours after the assault on Karina the person may have been observed as being disheveled, possibly with scratches or cuts to his hands, arms, neck or face.
“It could have appeared that he was in some type of fight or accident,” the report stated. “He may have given any of a variety of excuses for his appearance.”
The killer may have changed his appearance and changed his level of alcohol, drug or tobacco use, all the while paying careful attention to media reports of the assault and killing of Vetrano.
Last week to help the Vetrano case, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown called on state law enforcement officials to authorize the use of familial searching of New York’s DNA databanks.
The New York State Commission on Forensic Science has agreed to consider authorizing familial searching, a practice used in at least nine states.