The body of 30-year-old Karina Vetrano, who was sexually assaulted and strangled while jogging on a remote trail in Queens, New York, was found by her own father.
Philip Vetrano, 60, a retired firefighter, had warned his daughter against running alone on the desolate path on Aug. 2, which is surrounded by overgrown weeds. Philip normally ran alongside Karina, but couldn’t that day due to a recent back injury.
"[Her father] asked her not to run that path," NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said, according to the New York Post. "If you're a runner, you understand that you run every night. That's your routine, so she went and said she'd be alright."
Karina set off on her nightly run around 5 p.m. Surveillance video showed her jogging past a home at 5:46 p.m. She sent several text messages to a girlfriend while she ran.
Her parents became worried when at 7 p.m. she still hadn’t returned, nor had she answered her cellphone. That's when Philip called his police chief neighbor, who in turn dialed 911.
"We immediately began searching the area for where she was," Boyce said.
Police found Karina's cellphone around 10:30 p.m. Shortly before 11 p.m., a search helicopter shined its lights onto a marshy area roughly 20 feet off the trail, 14 blocks from the Vetrano family home.
Philip ran over and found his daughter's body face down in the weeds, the New York Post reports. Her underwear was pulled down and her clothes were torn. She had bruising to her buttocks and thighs, and police say she was raped before being strangled.
"The father had walked us through this path to help us with where she normally ran," Boyce said. "The father then went into the woods and found the body."
"He's traumatized," a friend of the Vetrano family said. "This is too much for them."
So far no arrests have been made, but police suspect the killer may have been one of the numerous vagrants who frequent the park, according to the New York Daily News. Authorities have interviewed two homeless people who are known to live in the area.
"Right now we're investigating anybody who uses this park," Boyce said.
Karina and her father had a close relationship. In addition to their regular jogging dates, the two went on road trips and attended concerts together.
"I'm blessed to have a father I can call my best friend," Karina recently posted on Instagram, according to the New York Daily News. She described her father, who was part of the 9/11 cleanup crew, as a "hero."