Police Release Sketch of Man Wanted for Questioning in Runner's Death - NBC New York

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Police Release Sketch of Man Wanted for Questioning in Runner's Death

The sketch depicts someone police would like to speak with about the case

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Police released a sketch of a man they'd like to talk to in connection with the death of a missing runner who was found strangled in an overgrown section of a Queens park earlier this month. Marc Santia reports. (Published Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016)

    What to Know

    • The sketch depicts a person the NYPD wants to talk to about the case

    • Vetrano was sexually assaulted and killed earlier this month

    • Her family is offering a reward of more than $250,000 for her killer

    Police released a sketch of a man they'd like to talk to in connection with the death of a missing runner who was found strangled in an overgrown section of a Queens park earlier this month.

    NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce held up a photo Wednesday of a man wearing a woven wool cap and asked anyone who recognized him to call police. The man was seen in the area around the time Karina Vetrano went missing at the Gateway National Recreation Area in Howard Beach on Aug. 2.

    Her body was found in a marshy area of off a trail several hours later.

    Boyce stressed that the man wasn't a suspect or a person of interest in the case. The man was seen in the area around the path where Vetrano was last seen that day and was spotted by a utility worker. Boyce said that the man could have seen Vetrano or her assailant.

    "We have to speak to this person," Boyce said. "That's the only reason we're putting this out."

    The man is described as being between 35 and 45 years old, standing 5 feet, 10 inches tall and has a medium build. Boyce said his wool cap stuck out on the hot summer day.

    "It's a little unusual he was walking around in August with a cap on," Boyce said.

    Earlier this week, Vetrano's father said he was seeking a runner who frequented the area before her death but hadn't been seen since. Police later said the man was not a suspect and had in fact been resting an injured knee. 

    Authorities culled DNA from three different investigative points -- Vetrano's neck, her phone and her fingernails. Police say the fingernail DNA is the strongest, and all the samples point to the same person, though the state and local databases have yet to yield a possible match. 

    Vetrano's family has raised more than $250,000 for a reward in the 30-year-old's death.

    Eighty-five tips have poured in to police about the case, Boyce said; nine remain to be investigated. Anyone with information on the Vetrano case should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

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