The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Parents Push to Expand DNA Search For Killer of Howard Beach Jogger

By Katie Honan | February 3, 2017 8:45am
 Cathie and Phil Vetrano are pushing for familial DNA testing to help solve their daughter's murder.
Cathie and Phil Vetrano are pushing for familial DNA testing to help solve their daughter's murder.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Katie Honan

HOWARD BEACH — The parents of Karina Vetrano marked the six month anniversary of her murder by pushing for the state to allow familial DNA testing — which they think could help them find the "savage" who killed her.

Cathie and Phil Vetrano gathered family, friends and lawmakers at the entrance to the Gateway National Recreation Area to ask for the testing — which would allow law enforcement to search the criminal database for a partial DNA match.

It goes beyond standard DNA testing — which is limited to whoever is already on the database — by allowing for potential matches on their relatives. 

Katrina Vetrano was last seen at the gate to the area while out for a run on Aug. 3. Her body was found hours later. Police said she had been dragged, strangled and sexually assaulted.

There have been few solid leads in the case, although police did release a sketch of a person they believe may have information about her killer. Police would not comment Thursday on the case.

Ten other states currently allow familial DNA testing and State Sen. Phil Boyle of Long Island, along with co-sponsor Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, plan to introduce a bill next week to try to get it in New York.

The state's Forensic Commission and DNA Subcommittee will also meet Feb. 10 to discuss it.

The Vetranos said allowing the search will just be one more tool used to catch their daughter's killer.

"The scum that murdered Karina is still at large," Phil Vetrano said.

"We know exactly who he is, we just don't know his name yet."

He mentioned two recent cases solved by familial DNA testing, including the decades-long unsolved California murder of Karen Sue Klaas, who was married to a singer in the band the Righteous Brothers.

The technique was also used to arrest an Ohio man who is accused of raping a 6-year-old girl. 

Those opposed to the testing include the American Civil Liberties Union, who say it's an invasion of privacy.

Phil Vetrano called those against the testing "unintelligent" and "losers."

"Privacy is not enough," he added.

Mom Cathie Vetrano said the family continues to fight because her daughter fought her attacker in the last moments of her life.

"Her last moment alive was fighting this evil savage," she said. "We cannot let her efforts go in vain."