Phil Vetrano, the father of Queens jogger murder victim Karina Vetrano, gave tearful testimony in court Wednesday as he recalled the day when he lost his beloved daughter.
The victim’s father recollected discovering the 30-year-old’s body after he declined to join her for a jog on August 6, 2016, due to back pain, ABC 7 reports, citing Wednesday’s testimony at the trial for her murder suspect.
“Daddy, I’m going for a run…come with me?,” an emotional Vetrano remembered Karina asking him, according to the news station.
While he was apprehensive about his beautiful daughter running alone, Vetrano said she tried putting him at ease.
“‘Don’t worry, Daddy, I’ll be ok,’” he said Karina told him, the New York Post reported.
But the young woman’s father felt a sense of dread when she didn’t come home and he couldn’t reach her.
Karina Vetrano's father testifies for the prosecution at the murder trial of her alleged killer Chanel Lewis. https://t.co/SQ3Z6GRUYG
— The Tornado News (@TheTornadoNews) November 8, 2018
“I got a bad feeling,” Vetrano continued, speaking of noticing something was amiss when he didn’t hear back from Karina. “I felt like something was wrong. Something came over me. I screamed, ‘Oh (expletive), Karina is not answering her phone.'”
When Karina failed to answer several calls he had placed to her, Vetrano called on a connection that he had with the NYPD, and a search was launched.
Vetrano was among those who subsequently discovered his daughter’s lifeless body, in a disheveled area of Spring Creek Park.
“She was on her stomach, her right arm under her,” the grief-stricken dad said. “Her left arm next to her. Her legs were in a running position. Her head tilted back to the side.”
Vetrano said he “let out a sound” he never recalled experiencing.
“A wail. I screamed, ‘My baby, my baby.’ I grabbed her and pulled her up to me…I knew she was dead,”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, the murder trial for the man accused of killing Karina, Chanel Lewis, began on Monday.
UPDATE: Karina Vetrano's father has been delivering emotional testimony during the trial of Chanel Lewis. Read the latest: https://t.co/nXyTCYNHk2
— CBS New York (@CBSNewYork) November 7, 2018
Officials arrested Lewis in February 2017 after surveillance video reportedly showed he was in the area near Spring Creek Park at about the same time as Karina’s slaying. Authorities believe the suspect sexually assaulted and strangled the victim. Lewis reportedly confessed to killing her but denied he sexually assaulted her.