Karina Vetrano, 30, was found in running trails in the Gateway National Recreation Center near her home.
At the time of the woman’s murder, investigators were stumped in making a possible DNA connection from Vetrano’s remains with that of any convicted criminal in NY or around the country. Chanel Lewis’ allegedly offered “detailed incriminating statements and admissions” to detectives and his cellphone was also linked to the crime, according to local media reports.”This is a very good day for justice in New York City”, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.Police arrested Lewis on Saturday and said DNA evidence led investigators to him. Her father, Philip Vetrano, usually joined her during these runs, but stayed home due to an injury.
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There was evidence she had been beaten, raped and strangled – and put up a fight against her attacker, police said.Police suggested today that it was unlikely that Lewis knew Vetrano in any personal or social capacity, and believed the violence occurred following a “chance encounter”. One person said investigators found him after reviewing stop and frisk reports from neighborhoods near the killing.Lewis does not have a criminal history but has been issued summonses for a “variety of reasons” near Spring Creek Park, Boyce said. Authorities don’t believe Lewis, who lives in nearby East New York with his mother, knew the 30-year-old victim, ABC 7 reported. That’s how we were able to bring this profile up. After DNA matched samples found at the scene, he was arrested. Authorities obtained Lewis’ DNA through a voluntarily cheek swab. He became anxious when he couldn’t reach her by 7 p.m., and called a neighbor in the police department. Phil found her body in marshland at the park just over three hours later. “The big thing is, we got it from her, from her person”.Police said charges are pending. The account has raised more than $280,000.