The family of slain Howard Beach jogger Karina Vetrano is trying to determine the identity of a mystery woman seen on a GoPro video heading into Spring Creek Park the same August afternoon the 30-year-old woman was founded dead in the weeds.
The woman, described as dressed in workout clothing and sporting a double pony tail, was seen on the video going toward the park at 83rd Street and 164th Avenue about 20 minutes before Vetrano took her final turn into the wetlands area about 5:40 p.m. Aug. 2, her father Philip Vetrano said in a series of telephone interviews.
“We need to talk to this person,” Vetrano said.
The woman is the second potential witness who may have seen something in the park the day Karina was killed. Last month police put out a sketch of a man wearing a stocking cap they still are trying to locate who was spotted on the northern edge of Spring Creek Park. Neither the man nor the woman seen on the video taken by a passing cyclist are considered suspects, police have said.
An avid jogger, Karina Vetrano left her house on 84th Street in Howard Beach about 5:30 p.m. and ran north up 83rd Street to the 164th Avenue park entrance, police said. After she didn’t return home, her family contacted police. Investigators pinged Karina’s cellphone and then located her body in the weeds off a trail in the northwestern area of the park that evening. She had been strangled and sexually abused.
An NYPD spokesman didn’t return a number of email and telephone requests for comment about the video and the woman. But police have privately voiced frustration about the case. A DNA sample believed to have been left by the suspect was obtained from Karina’s body and her personal effects. But the sample has not matched any DNA profile found in state or national databases, police said.
Philip Vetrano said he and his daughter’s friends have been shown the video in recent weeks but no one can identify the woman seen in profile in the brief clip. A GoPro is a portable video camera popular with sports enthusiasts.
One of Karina Vetrano’s close friends, who only wants to be identified by her first name Natasha, said Monday she and three other friends were shown a still frame of the video by detectives at the 106th Precinct at the end of August. They then asked to see the entire video, she said.
“She [the woman] crossed street and walked in the direction of [the Spring Creek] weeds and didn’t show any sign of stopping,” Natasha said.
Philip Vetrano acknowledged the woman was not actually captured crossing a fence to enter the park. But he believes the woman was walking so purposefully that she did eventually walk on to the same trail his daughter used for her run.
“Did you see anything?” Vetrano asked rhetorically of the still-unidentified woman.