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Family of Murdered Jogger Now Raising $200K for Reward to Find Killer

By Katie Honan | August 10, 2016 1:17pm
 Karina Vetrano's father, Philip, said the additional money will hopefully spur more tips. 
Karina Vetrano's father, Philip, said the additional money will hopefully spur more tips. 
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

HOWARD BEACH — The family of Karina Vetrano has set up an online fund — first for $100,000, and now for $200,000 — hoping a larger reward will spur more tips that could lead to her killer.

Philip Vetrano, standing outside his home Wednesday near a photo of his 30-year-old daughter, said he thinks someone is out there with information, and that with enough money, they might come forward. The NYPD has increased their reward amount twice since Vetrano's death, and are now promising $20,000 for credible information.

"This is why we're doing this," he said. "Guaranteed $100,000, no questions asked. I don't care if he turns himself in for that money. Somebody knows something, and somebody's going to say something."

They met their goal within hours, increasing it to $200,000 later on Wednesday. They are currently at nearly $170,000.

"We're expecting a lot of leads. Anything, anything, no matter how small you think it was," said Vetrano, a retired firefighter. 

The fundraising page dubbed Karina Vetrano the "daughter of the entire community," and said her family needs the public's help to bring "this vicious animal to face the most severe punishment allowable by law."

"While we greatly appreciate the help of the police, Howard Beach is a community not known for sitting back while other people work on our behalf," the page says.

The tight-knit community has been shaken by the brutal murder on Aug. 2 at Spring Creek Park, where Vetrano went out for an evening run.

The park was her "happy place,"  her father said, and he'd like to see it remain a natural place. He said Wednesday that despite calls by some to "burn" down the reeded preserve, he wants to keep it intact. But it does need to be taken care of and made safer by the National Park Service, he said.

"The entrances and the exits should be locked," he said, adding that there needs to be additional protection throughout.

"There shouldn't be a direct route from the Belt Parkway to our backyard. That's what we need to stop."​

The park, which he grew up spending time in, has become a popular place for dirt bike and ATV riders, as well as a place for many homeless encampments, he said. 

Many of the riders load bikes up on trailers and drive them right into the park for rides throughout its expansive trails, which travel along Jamaica Bay in Brooklyn and Queens.

"A lot of them are gangsters, a lot of them are hoodlums. You scan see that they have no business being there, they're not supposed to be there," he said.

At a town hall on Monday, Borough President Melinda Katz announced she would fund security cameras to be installed around the park's perimeters. Vetrano, though, didn't think cameras would have deterred his daughter's killer.

"It may have made a difference in the apprehension, I don't think it would have really been a deterrent," he said.