Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown is urging New York state officials to employ a forensic technique that may solve the case of who killed Karina Vetrano.
The 30-year-old Howard Beach woman was last seen alive as she headed out for a late afternoon jog on Aug. 2. When she didn't return home, her father called police. NYPD officers discovered her body later that evening in a marshy area near the jogging path. She had been strangled and sexually assaulted.
Familial searching isa tool that can identify potential suspects who may not be in state databases by comparing their DNA to family members along the Y chromosome. Though controversial, it's been touted recently as a solution to Vetrano's killing more than four months ago.
In a letter sent to Michael Green, executive deputy commissioner for the state Division of Criminal Justice, Green said Vetrano's slaying "has been exhaustively investigated using every tool currently available, but remains unsolved."
DNA was recovered fromVetrano'sbody. Investigators found DNA from a single male profile under her fingernails, on her neck and on her cell phone. But there were no matches in any data banks.
"The killer remains at large, the public remains in danger, and the suffering of the victim’s family is amplified by law enforcement’s inability to yet solve this most awful crime. The victim, her family, and the public deserve justice and we have an obligation to use every means at our disposal to identify the murderer. I believe that familial searching can be a powerful investigative tool in this case," Brown wrote in the letter.
Vetrano's family has been aggressively fundraising online to supplementthe $35,000 reward offered by the NYPD and mayor's office for information that leads to an arrest. As of Thursday, the GoFundMe campaign had raised $285,761.
Vetrano's father, Philip, told Newsday last month that he intended to raise the issue with police and government entitites.
"I am going to stop at nothing to have this done," he said.