[Update] Police have now released a sketch of a new person of interest who was reportedly spotted in the area the day when Vetrano was killed. Check it out below.
This week, the father of Queens jogger Karina Vetrano, who was found raped and murdered at the start of the month, made a public plea to speak to a fellow jogger who frequented the same path in Spring Creek Park as Vetrano who had seemingly gone missing in the weeks since her disappearance. That man has now come forward and spoken to police—and the reason he disappeared had nothing to do with the case.
The jogger, whose name has not been released, had been dealing with a knee injury for the last couple weeks. "He’s a 48-year-old man who hurt his knee and stopped jogging. Nothing more heinous than that," NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told reporters. “He’s not a subject at all. We spoke to him last night. He voluntarily came into the precinct, and we sat down, and we talked to him. He self-identified as that person that Phil would see jogging prior to that. It was just an injury."
Karina Vetrano was murdered on August 2nd, when the 30-year-old was dragged off a jogging trail in Spring Creek Park sometime after 5 p.m. She was badly beaten, with some of her teeth reportedly knocked out. Her hands were still clutching weeds, and the police believe she fought her killer to the end.
Although investigators recovered DNA at the scene of the crime, they have been unable to find a match in their database. "A DNA profile was developed from three parts of the investigation: from the victim’s phone, Karina’s phone, from touch DNA from her neck, and also...other parts of her person,” Boyce said. "We were able to identify a DNA profile. We put that into our database, and there was no nationwide hit on it or any state hit on it."
Despite a reward of nearly $300K for any information on the case, there have been frustratingly few leads, prompting Vetrano's father, Phillip, to go to the media for help directly at times, as with this week's appeal to the missing jogger.
Police add that they do have a new person of interest they want to talk to, although they specify that this person isn't a suspect at the time. The NYPD will release a sketch this week of the man, whom police sources say was seen coming out of the weeds at Spring Creek Park near Belt Parkway around the time Vetrano was killed.
"This is definitely someone we want to talk to,” a source told The News. "He was seen in the area. This is someone we believe that could provide us additional leads."
Update: Police have now released a sketch of the new person of interest, who was spotted by a utility worker in the area near where the attack took place. You can see the sketch below.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.