Police have discovered an unsettling piece of evidence in the case of Karina Vetrano, the jogger who was murdered on a weed-obscured path in Howard Beach, Queens, on Tuesday.
Late on Wednesday while combing the tall grass which likely prevented anyone from witnessing the murder, officers found a used condom and wrapper left close to where Vetrano's body was discovered by her father.
Police are also interviewing several registered sex offenders in the area, as well as homeless individuals who live in the park where the path is located.
Vetrano was known by locals to have a regular routine of jogging the path in Spring Creek Park, almost always with her father, Phillip Vetrano, a retired firefighter who worked on 9/11.
The path itself also had a reputation for being the lurking grounds for “hobos and bums”— as one local resident told the NY Post on Wednesday:
“If these weeds weren’t this high, we would have seen her…..all girls know not to walk along these weeds.”
Phillip Vetrano had become worried on Tuesday evening when his daughter hadn't returned from her jog yet— a jog he'd normally be accompanying her on but for a back injury he'd been nursing.
After she didn't respond to or return several of his phone calls, he told his neighbor, a NYPD police chief, and a search began as police descended on the neighborhood.
Around 20 minutes later, a police helicopter shone a light on a patch of tall grass just off the path, and Phillip Vetrano ran to the spot—where he found Karina Vetrano face down in the dirt. She'd been strangled to death.
Vetrano herself wrote often of death, dying young, and sexual assault on her personal blog and occasionally on Instagram, writing in one poem of losing her virginity by being raped, and longing for death at age 30.
The investigation continues.