The father of a woman who was murdered while jogging in Queens, New York in 2016 gave heartbreaking testimony about finding her body during the trial of her suspected killer.
Karina Vetrano was strangled to death and her body was dragged to a desolate, weeded area, according to the opening statements in the trial for her accused killer, Chanel Lewis.
"He placed his hands around her neck and he squeezed and he squeezed," Assistant District Attorney Brad Leventhal said earlier this week about the murder, according to the New York Post.
The jogger’s father Phil Vetrano testified on Wednesday about the moments after he found his 30-year-old daughter's lifeless body.
"Daddy, I'm going for a run... come with me?" he explained she asked that evening, according to WABC in New York City. He declined, he said, because his back hurt.
His daughter never returned from her run.
"I got a bad feeling," Phil Vetrano testified. "I felt like something was wrong. Something came over me. I screamed, 'Oh (expletive), Karina is not answering her phone.'"
So he called a police officer friend, and together they went out to search for her at Spring Creek Park, where she went jogging. They found a matted down area off the trail, near a marsh full of cattails, according to testimony.
"She was on her stomach, her right arm under her," he said. "Her left arm next to her. Her legs were in a running position. Her head tilted back to the side."
At that point, the father broke down.
"I let out a sound like I've never heard before," he said. "A wail. I screamed, 'My baby, my baby.' I grabbed her and pulled her up to me."
Lewis was arrested last year after surveillance video allegedly put him in the area. He eventually confessed to the murder, but later recanted. His lawyer Jenny Cheung has argued that he is innocent and was coerced into a false confession, Gothamist reports.
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