Still grieving over the loss of his daughter who was killed last month while jogging in the Queens borough of New York City, Phil Vetrano left his Howard Beach home Sunday to participate in the annual Tunnel to Towers charity run that honors first responders who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. He was joined by nearly 60 friends and family members as the retired firefighter spoke about the unsolved murder case surrounding his 30-year-old daughter, Karina Vetrano.
Phil Vetrano, who wore a shirt with the words "WE RUN FOR KV," told reporters he has not stopped looking for his daughter’s murderer. "We’re still working with police," he said.
He was almost in tears as he spoke about the charity event. "It’s emotional, these things," he said, adding: "With Karina, it’s just hit after hit."
The course followed the 3.1-mile route from Brooklyn to the World Trade Center taken by FDNY Firefighter Stephen Siller on Sept. 11, 2001. The first responder died while trying to save people inside the burning towers. The father of five was off-duty on the day of the terror attacks when he was alerted about the chaos through his scanner. After being stopped on what was known as the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, he ran with 60 pounds of firefighter gear through the tunnel and into the buildings.
"It was a tragedy that happened. She was an amazing person," said Gio Breciani, a high school friend of Karina Vetrano. "We’re out here running for Karina because that’s what she loved to do. We celebrate her life by running for her."
Karina Vetrano was first reported missing Aug. 2 after she failed to return home from her afternoon run. Her father alerted police and her body was later found dragged off a local running trail. Police reported that she was badly beaten and sexually assaulted.
The New York Police Department previously told reporters it was close to an arrest and had received nearly 200 tips about the killing. "I think we have 12 open that we're vetting right now, so we wanna keep this going as we go forward," NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert said. "We have a lot of perseverance in this case, we do believe we'll make an arrest in this case."
Anyone with information about Vetrano's death is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.