A suspect is in custody in the murder of Karina Vetrano, a 30-year-old woman who went out running in the Howard Beach neighborhood of Queens in New York City and never returned, police announced today.
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Vetrano was strangled on Aug. 2 while jogging alone on a path where she and her father often ran together.
Chanel Lewis, 20, who lives with his mother in East New York in Brooklyn, was taken into custody Saturday at approximately 6 p.m., the New York Police Department announced.
He was later charged with murder in the second degree. It is unclear who will be representing him.
Lewis, police said, was identified through a number of means, including DNA evidence taken from Vetrano's body, a 911 call and several court summonses that linked him to the area. He has no prior arrest record, police said.
Police said he was interviewed by detectives and made detailed confessions to the crime.
Subsequent to the investigation, Chanel Lewis, 20 y/o, is being held in connection to the homicide of Karina Vetrano. Charges are pending. pic.twitter.com/032ykQTn0d— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) February 5, 2017
Early in the investigation, police said Vetrano put up a fight against her attacker, and Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce referred to that detail in a press conference this afternoon.
"Karina helped us to identify this suspect," Boyce said, "thanks to the DNA we recovered from under her nails."
Police gave only limited details about the conclusion of their investigation. Boyce corrected what he described as a misconception about it, saying Lewis had not been in their sights for very long. He described the case as coming to a head within only the last 10 days and pointed to a DNA swab as the key link between Lewis and Vetrano.
Police said today it was unlikely that Lewis knew Vetrano in any capacity and believed the violence occurred after a chance encounter.
Boyce said it was also unlikely that Lewis was a stalker, as some speculated earlier in the investigation.