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Howard Beach Jogger Murder Suspect in Custody, Sources Say

By Murray Weiss | February 4, 2017 7:44pm | Updated on February 5, 2017 1:04pm
 Karina Vetrano, 30, was found in running trails in the Gateway National Recreation Center near her home.
Karina Vetrano, 30, was found in running trails in the Gateway National Recreation Center near her home.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan/Instagram

HOWARD BEACH - A suspect in the murder of Howard Beach jogger Karina Vetrano has been taken into custody by NYPD detectives, DNAinfo New York has learned.

► UPDATE: Howard Beach Jogger 'Helped Us Identify' Murder Suspect By Fighting Back, NYPD Says

The suspect, who police later named as Chanel Lewis, 20, of East New York, was grabbed around 6 p.m. Saturday and taken into custody after sources said his DNA was matched to DNA recovered from Vetrano's body and cellphone, which was found in the marshy area in Spring Creek Park on Aug. 2, 2016.

Sources said Lewis lives not far from the murder scene.

He was spoken to by investigators weeks ago, and apparently agreed to give them a DNA sample, which recently came back with a hit, sources said.

Vetrano, 30, went out for a run from her Howard Beach home, and when she did not return home, her father, Philip Vetrano, and NYPD detectives went looking for her. Vetrano's father found her body among the tall weeds in the park.

Police were able to put together a genetic profile of her killer using DNA found on Vetrano's phone, her neck and under her fingernails, but it did not match anyone in police databases.

The NYPD recently sought permission from the state to run "familial" DNA tests that extended the pool of potential matches to include relatives of those found within law enforcement databases.

Despite thousands of dollars raised in reward money, police were thwarted for months in their search for Vetrano's killer. They feared that without a break in the case, one of the most high profile in years, it might grow cold.