After six months of searching, police took a suspect into custody Saturday for the murder of 30-year-old New York City woman Karina Vetrano, who was killed near her Howard Beach home after she went for an early evening run.
Fox News reports that NYPD confirmed Chanel Lewis was the suspect in custody and is expected to be charged with Vetrano’s sexual assault and murder in a news conference Sunday. Police said Lewis, 20, lives in East New York with his mother and is unemployed.
Investigators had obtained DNA on the possible culprit from Vetrano not long after the August 2 attack, but it did not match any samples in the statewide or criminal database. A review of 911 calls placed on the day of the murder led police to search for a man who a witness reported acting suspiciously. Lewis had been questioned earlier in the investigation but there was insufficient evidence to arrest or charge him.
But police now say that Lewis has made incriminating statements about a possible role in Vetrano’s murder, and voluntarily submitted to a DNA swab. NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said at Sunday’s news conference that it matched the DNA taken from the murder victim.
“We’re satisfied that we have a solid case,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown reportedly said at the news conference.
Boyce told reporters that he believed the tragic murder was the result of a chance encounter.
“We don’t believe he knew her at all,” Boyce said.