Exactly two weeks following the brutal murder of jogger Karina Vetrano, the Howard Beach neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City came together Tuesday for a memorial walk to remember the victim. The 30-year-old was reported missing Aug. 2 after she failed to return home from her run and stopped responding to phone calls and text messages.
Vetrano was later found by her father and police lying face down with her pants pulled down. Authorities believe that she was strangled and possibly sexually assaulted.
Those in attendance at the memorial crowded the streets holding balloons to walk the “trail of tears” with the jogger’s parents, who were mourning the loss of their daughter. Still hurt over the death of her child, the victim’s mother didn’t have any kind words for the attacker. Cathy Vetrano told CBS New York, “He’s a weak, evil piece of s**t, and that’s too good to call him.”
The walk was done to serve as a reminder and let the public know that even though the close-knit community is walking in Vetrano’s honor, her killer is also walking free. Howard Beach residents have been on edge since the jogger’s death and are upset that they no longer feel safe in their neighborhood.
While attending the walk, Phil Vetrano said the community has been his family’s rock during this tough time. The devastated father explained that since his daughter’s murder, the support in his community has only grown stronger. The crowd released balloons into the sky in Vetrano’s honor and her father said he hopes it will serve as a message to her attacker to, “Turn yourself in.”
There are reward signs posted throughout Howard Beach and in some parts of Brooklyn offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.