The 30-year-old Vetrano was killed while jogging in Spring Creek Park in Howard Beach last August. After a lengthy investigation, 20-year-old Brooklyn man Chanel Lewis was arrested and charged with the murder in early February.
After six months of searching for the killer and seemingly exhausting all leads, it was Lieutenant Detective John Russo, who grew up in Williamsburg but now lives in Howard Beach, that broke the case.
Russo followed up on a suspicious persons 911 call from May of last year. An investigation into that call led to Lewis’ name and ultimately a match with DNA taken from Vetrano’s fingernails, back and cellphone.
“Losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare,” said Borough President Eric Adams. “Karina was Cathy and Phil Vetrano’s pride and joy. I know they are very grateful for Lieutenant Detective Russo’s bravery in speaking out and working hard to find Karina’s killer.”