Boyce says the encounter that led to 30-year-old Vetrano's death apparently was a chance one. Boyce thanked the tireless efforts of the NYPD and the Howard Beach community. They added that additional forensic evidence also connected Lewis to the crime. They said he had no prior criminal history aside from some summonses.
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. Lewis' DNA matched samples found at the scene.
Karina Vetrano's beaten body was found August 2 in a marshy park in Queens.
Mr Vetrano usually accompanied his daughter on her daily jog, but had to stay at home due to a back injury. While talking to investigators, Boyce said, Lewis made several incriminating remarks. Genetic material found under Vetrano's fingernails and on her phone and neck resulted in a DNA profile. "She had the DNA under her nails".
"We brought that immediately to medical examiner", Boyce said. "And that's how we made the link".
He says DNA evidence led to the arrest. In New York state, familial DNA testing is not allowed.
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The Vetrano family had raised more than $280,000 as a reward for a suspect in the case.
A video released in September shows Vetrano jogging near her Howard Beach home the day she disappeared.
Phil Vetrano said Sunday he will go after establishing a DNA database following the case.
"I'm not going to say it is a good day but we can move forward now", he said. "And we really don't know what we feel right now".
The medical examiner says she was sexually assaulted, beaten and strangled. However, she is relieved to know that another family won't have to suffer the same fate now that Karina's killer is behind bars. In a video from AM New York, Lewis looked around while he was led to a cop vehicle, appearing stunned and confused, as people could be heard yelling "why'd you kill her?" "They worked endlessly and tirelessly, and that was because of the their passion combined witht he passion for our daughter".