By Alison Fox and Nicole Brown
According to AM New York, On Feb. 4, police said they were questioning a person of interest in connection to Vetrano’s death. No charges have been filed.
Vetrano, 30, went for a jog about 5 p.m. on Aug. 2 — a fairly common activity for her, police have said. During her run, investigators said Vetrano had been texting her best friend and that the phone was swabbed for DNA.
When she didn’t return home that night, her family became worried. They began to search for her after she didn’t return phone calls or texts, and discovered her body about four hours later.
She was found face down in a marshy area, about 15 feet from a trail near 161st Avenue and 78th Street in Spring Creek Park.
In the days following, police recovered a DNA sample from Vetrano’s neck, under her fingernails and on her cellphone, but were unable to match it to any known individual.
Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce has said police spoke to several people involved in her personal life, including an ex-boyfriend, who is not a suspect. Investigators also reviewed surveillance video in the area, but “haven’t found any video evidence at all to show anybody lingering.”
Police shifted their investigation toward Brooklyn in late August to determine if the attacker could have escaped the park westbound along the Belt Parkway.
On Aug. 18, Vetrano’s father said police were close to catching the killer, appealed to the family of that suspect and urged them to take the reward money raised, according to multiple media reports. But then-Police Commissioner William Bratton said that wasn’t true, and reiterated his appeal to any members of the public for help closing the case.
On Aug. 31, police released a sketch of a possible witness to the murder. Boyce said the individual is not considered a suspect, but hoped he may have more information about the incident. The sketch spurred more tips, but police still do not have a suspect.
On Sept. 12, “Crime Watch Daily With Chris Hansen,” published video surveillance that shows Vetrano running on a street adjacent to the park, but Boyce said the video does not provide any clues about who killed her.
“We’re looking for a break,” Boyce said in an interview with “Crime Watch Daily.” “We need a break in the case.”
On Sept. 21, Boyce said he’s optimistic that investigators will find Vetrano’s killer: “I think we will make an arrest in the case.”
Police have received more than 170 calls in the case, and of those, Boyce said 12 tips remained open for investigation.
On Sept. 27, Michael Fox, 47, was taken into custody after he was found naked and ranting in the same marshy park where Vetrano was killed. Fox was apparently agitated and incoherent, yelling that “the father did it… I have nothing to do with it,” according to a police source.
Fox’s DNA, however, did not match the samples found on Vetrano’s body and belongings, police said in early October.
On Dec. 7, more than four months after Vetrano’s death, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown asked the state to approve the use of a new type of DNA analysis that he believes could help solve the case. Brown wants the state to allow the city to use what is known as “familial searching,” a technique that is used in 10 other states, but not New York.
The state had no immediate comment on the letter, which was dated Wednesday, Dec. 7 and made public by Brown on Thursday, Dec. 8.
A day later, on Dec. 9, state Sen. Phil Boyle introduced legislation that would authorize the use of the so-called “familial DNA” to assist in solving violent crimes in New York. The senator said he drafted the measure after a phone conversation with Vetrano’s father in late November.
The NYPD and staff from Queens District Attorney Richard Brown’s office plan to push for the use of “familial DNA” analysis during a public meeting of a DNA subcommittee of the New York State Commission on Forensic Science on Feb. 10.
On Feb. 4, police said they were questioning a person of interest in connection to Vetrano’s death. No charges have been filed.