Just days after Karina Vetrano’s body was found on a running path in Howard Beach last summer, her family set up a GoFundMe page to raise reward money to find her killer.
Now that a man has been arrested for the 30-year-old’s death, her parents, Phil and Cathy Vetrano, are asking the public where they should donate the $288,681 raised on the crowdfunding site.
“I want to thank all of you who have supported us so long. Now we can use all this money that you very generous people have donated,” Phil wrote on the campaign’s page on Monday. “I mentioned in the beginning that we would use this money for charities that Karina would want. I would also like all of your input, you all donated and you should have a say. Message me and give an opinion.”
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the ASPCA and a scholarship to her alma mater, Archbishop Malloy High School were among the suggestions, Vetrano wrote.
A SIX-MONTH QUEST ENDS
When Karina Vetrano didn’t return home from a jog on Aug. 2, her father went looking for his daughter on her usual running path and discovered her body in a weeded area of Spring Creek Park.
She had been beaten, strangled and sexually assaulted, but evidence showed that she had put up a vigorous fight against her attacker.
For months, her parents sought her killer. Last week, police arrested Chanel Lewis of Brooklyn. Lewis’ DNA matched DNA found under Vetrano’s nails, on her back and on her cellphone, police have said.
The DNA did not match any that had been in a database, but police questioned Lewis after an anonymous 911 call reported suspicious behavior. He willingly gave investigators a DNA sample, and he was arrested after police found a match, authorities said.
He was charged with second-degree murder and was ordered held without bail on Sunday. He faces 25 years in prison if convicted.
Investigators said Lewis did not know Vetrano prior to the attack. An official told ABC7 that Lewis, in a videotaped confession, said he was angry about something that had happened at his home and when he saw Vetrano running in the park that day, he “lost it.”