A woman who had been jogging in a Queens park was found dead last night. The cause of death has not yet been determined—the official police statement on the incident says there were "no obvious signs of trauma," but police sources tell the Post that the victim "appeared to have been strangled and her jogging pants were pulled partway down."
Investigators say Karina Vetrano, 30, was reported missing by her father when she didn't return from her 5 p.m. run. in Spring Creek Park in Howard Beach. "After an extensive search of the area, an unresponsive adult female was discovered in the marshland area within the vicinity of 161 Avenue and 78 Street," police said, adding that she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Vetrano's cell phone was found by a bike path, according to the Daily News, and police "discovered her body closer to the shoreline around 11 p.m., following a search that lasted nearly four hours."
The Parks Department describes Spring Creek Park as having the "largest amount of undeveloped land and wetlands in the northern Jamaica Bay area."
A neighbor told the Daily News, "If the weeds were not that tall, we would of seen the girl jogging on the path ... You can grab that girl, and we wouldn't know it...I hear there's a couple of shanty houses out there." The same neighbor told the Post that Vetrano would run with her father before he was injured: "He asked her, ‘Don’t go in there.'"
Vetrano, who graduated from St. John's, was a caterer at the Vetro Lounge.
"A parent's nightmare to have the police knocking on your door and finding this out," another neighbor lamented.
The investigation is ongoing.