A man wearing a wool cap who was seen in the Howard Beach park where jogger Karina Vetrano was killed earlier this month might have seen something that could help cops in their stalled investigation, police said Wednesday.
“He was seen on the pathway of the Belt Parkway, which is in the north end of the park, of Spring Creek Park,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said, as a sketch of the man was released. “That’s why we’re putting it out.”
‘This sketch was prepared by a utility worker who was working in the area at the time and saw this individual near the top of the park, Spring Creek Park,” Boyce said.
Detectives think the man, who is believed to be between 35 and 40 and 5-foot-10, might be able to provide information about what he may have seen around the time Vetrano was killed.
Boyce said the man in the sketch has no direct connection to the killing and is not a person of interest.
“He was wearing dark pants with a red T-shirt and if you’ll notice a dark, wool hat, remember the day was August 2, a little unusual he’s wearing a wool hat in the area there,” Boyce said. “We don’t know who he is. We don’t know if he’s a fellow jogger, what he’s doing.”
Cops were able to build a DNA profile based on material they found on the joggers body and headphones. But the profile didn’t get any hits when they checked it against state and national DNA databases.
Investigators also took DNA from vagrants who sometimes stay inside the park by offering them water and then keeping the water bottles, a police source said. But those samples also didn’t match the DNA profile they built.
Dad Philip Vetrano, 60, has been frustrated by the lack of progress in the investigation into his daughter’s death and has been raising reward money though a GoFundMe page. He surpassed his $200,000 goal and raised $267,700.
The NYPD – in conjunction with the mayor’s office, Police Foundation and Uniformed Firefighters Association – is offering a $35,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.