A Queens woman was found slain in a marshy area near Howard Beach after she went out for her evening jog Tuesday, law-enforcement sources said.
Karina Vetrano, 30, was reported missing by her father when she didn’t return from her regular run along the Belt Parkway’s bike path at about 5 p.m., according to the sources.
Shortly after her worried dad, a retired firefighter, called 911, police found the body of the St. John’s University graduate in the high-weeded area off 165th Avenue and 78th Street at about 10:30 p.m., the sources said.
Sources said a cause of death has not been determined, but she appeared to have been strangled and her jogging pants were pulled partway down.
Vetrano’s father, who neighbors say retired from the FDNY on disability, was called to the crime scene as sobbing neighbors gathered outside his home on 84th Street.
Even before the remains were identified as those of Vetrano, neighbors feared the worst. One young girl on the block collapsed in tears while police investigators descended on the neighborhood.
“She had a routine jog,” one neighbor said, describing Vetrano as a “pretty girl.”
Another neighbor, who would identify himself only as John, said that Vetrano went jogging with her father nearly every night before he suffered an injury.
“He asked her, ‘Don’t go in there,’ ” John said referring to the weeded area.
“They found her phone over here [on the path] . . . If these weeds weren’t this high, we would have seen her,” John said, adding that “all girls know not to walk along these weeds.”
Another neighbor said that “hobos and bums” typically lurk in the weeded area.
Vetrano’s Instagram account is filled with photos of her enjoying her summer sipping cocktails, traveling and soaking up the sun with friends.
In a recent photo with her dad on his 60th birthday, Vetrano called him her “hero” and said, “I’m so blessed to have a father I can call my best friend.”
Vetrano, who was an avid runner, posted an image online that showed her wearing a medal from the Spartan Race at Citi Field 15 weeks ago.
Sources said that police were investigating whether the victim had been sexually assaulted.