Police say the mystery man is not considered a suspect in the killing of New York City jogger Karina Vetrano

By Chris Harris
Updated August 31, 2016 03:20 PM
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Credit: Courtesy NYPD

This week, police released a composite sketch of a possible witness in the killing of New York City jogger Karina Vetrano.

The 30-year-old jogger’s body was found in a Queens park on August 2, about a dozen feet from a jogging trail she used daily. She was sexually assaulted and strangled to death, but investigators say she “put up a ferocious fight” before her death.

Police believe Vetrano bit her attacker because her teeth showed signs of cracking.

Authorities say the man depicted in the sketch may have seen something that could help them solve the case.

A police spokesperson tells PEOPLE the mystery man is not considered a suspect, but simply someone who has vital information that could lead them to Vetrano’s killer.

“He was seen on the pathway of the Belt Parkway, which is in the north end of the park, Spring Creek Park,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told reporters Tuesday. “That’s why we’re putting it out. We want to speak to this person because we feel that he was there.”

Police say a public utility worker spotted the man in the area where Vetrano was killed earlier this month. Investigators held onto the sketch for 10 days before releasing it.

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“We don’t know who he is, we don’t know if he’s a fellow jogger, what he’s doing,” Boyce said.

The man is described as roughly 5-foot-10 with a medium build. He was seen wearing a red T-shirt, dark pants and a wool hat, Boyce said.

Boyce commented that the presence of the wool hat was “a little unusual,” considering New York was in the middle of a summer heat wave.

Boyce said Vetrano would typically run with her father, who sat out the fateful jog because he was dealing with back pain.

When she didn’t return, her dad called the police, who pinged her phone. It showed that she was in the brush near the park’s jogging path. The father went out with police and discovered her body 15 feet from the jogging trail, Boyce said.

Police have developed a DNA profile of Vetrano’s killer using DNA recovered from her phone, neck and under her fingernails.

The DNA evidence did not return a match when run through criminal databases.

Another jogger, who frequently used the same path as Vetrano, has been interviewed by police but has been ruled out a suspect.

Anyone with information regarding Vetrano’s killing is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

The public can also submit tips through the Crime stoppers website at http://www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.