A Queens, N.Y. jogger who was found apparently strangled to death in a marshy area Tuesday night was sexually assaulted, police said Wednesday.
The body of Karina Vetrano — who had recently celebrated her 30th birthday in Saint Tropez, France — was discovered by police, with her running tights pulled halfway down, in the weeds around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, sources said.
Her worried father, a retired firefighter, had called 911 to report the St. John’s University graduate missing at about 5 p.m. after she had failed to return home from her regular run along the Belt Parkway’s bike path, according to the sources.
Sources said a cause of death has not been determined, but she appeared to have been strangled.
Vetrano’s father, who neighbors say retired from the FDNY on disability, was called to the crime scene as sobbing neighbors gathered outside his home on 84th Street.
Even before the remains were identified as Vetrano’s, neighbors feared the worst. One young girl on the block collapsed in tears as police investigators descended on the neighborhood.
“She had a routine jog,” one neighbor said.
Another neighbor, who would identify himself only as John, said Vetrano went jogging with her father nearly every night before he suffered an injury.
“He asked her, ‘Don’t go in there,’ ” John said, referring to the weedy area.
“They found her phone over here [on the path] . . . If these weeds weren’t this high, we would have seen her,” John said, adding that “all girls know not to walk along these weeds.”