HOWARD BEACH, N.Y. – Authorities in New York say one person is in custody related to the murder of a 30-year-old jogger last year.
Family members and neighbors say it was common to see 30-year-old Karina Vetrano jogging along the path near Howard Beach.
However, she usually ran with her father by her side.
In August of 2016, police say she decided to run by herself and her father, who is a retired firefighter, became worried when she didn’t immediately return home.
Officials say they were able to ping her phone about four hours later, and her father led a search party.
He, along with officers, found her body about 15 feet off the path in a marshy area.
Chief Robert Boyce, with the NYPD, said that Vetrano had marks on her body and her clothes were “in disarray.”
The next day, officials said that there is evidence Vetrano was strangled and possibly sexually assaulted.
Although the case gained national attention, police were not able to pinpoint a suspect until now.
On Sunday, police arrested and charged 20-year-old Chanel Lewis for Vetrano’s murder.
“Karina helped us identify this person,” Boyce said. “The big thing is, we got it from her, from her person.”
Investigators told WPIX that DNA evidence linking Lewis to the crime was found underneath Vetrano’s fingernails, on her neck and on her cellphone.
Authorities discovered the DNA evidence early on in the case, but there were no hits in the state or national database at the time.
Last week, New York officials asked a state forensic lab to do “familial searching,” which would try and narrow the search by linking the DNA to a male relative of the killer.
After being taken in for questioning, authorities say Lewis gave “detailed incriminating statements and admissions” to officers.
At this point, investigators say Vetrano’s murder appears to be random.