07 February, 2017
A suspect is in custody in the murder of Karina Vetrano, a 30-year-old woman who went out running in the Howard Beach neighborhood of Queens, New York, and never returned, police announced Sunday.
It wasn't immediately clear if Lewis has an attorney. Her father later discovered her badly beaten body.
In the beginning of their investigation, detectives in NY said they reached out to the Massachusetts State Police to see if there were any links between the killing of Vetrano and the killing of Vanessa Marcotte, a 27-year-old Google accounts manager who was found dead in Princeton on August 7. According to police, Lewis gave a DNA swab to authorities after an interview on February 2.
Police say Vetrano fought tirelessly for her life and that it was DNA found under her fingernails and on her body that led investigators.
In the end, it was a direct DNA match that led to an arrest. Lewis said he wandered into Spring Creek Park in Queens, and when he saw Vetrano, he just "lost it", and hit and choked her, according to the official.
The medical examiner determined that her death was a homicide, finding that Vetrano had been strangled and sexually assaulted. The resulting six-month long search for a suspect unearthed nearly no clues and sparked a reward for information that reached $280,000, the The New York Times reported.
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Family members and neighbors say it was common to see 30-year-old Karina Vetrano jogging along the path near Howard Beach. Police found a summons, tracked Lewis down, and he took a voluntary DNA swab on Thursday.
Investigators do not believe they knew each other.
Lewis, an East New York, Brooklyn resident, was a person of interest in the case, and voluntarily gave a DNA sample earlier in the week.
"At this time he is being charged with intentional murder in the second degree, although the investigation is continuing and a grand jury may consider additional criminal charges when the case is presented to them".
The victim's father, Philip Vetrano, told reporters: "It's a good day".