ABC News reports that the arrest this weekend in New York City of 20-year-old Chanel Lewis, who is accused of murdering jogger Karina Vetrano six months ago, can be chalked up, in large part, to one lieutenant’s intuition, according to police sources.
Lewis was arrested on Saturday, a little over six months after 30-year-old Vetrano’s death. She was fatally strangled on Aug. 2, 2016, while jogging alone in Howard Beach in the borough of Queens on a path where she and her father often ran together.
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According to police sources, NYPD Lt. John Russo first saw Lewis on the Brooklyn-Queens border in May, three months before Vetrano’s murder. Russo thought he seemed suspicious and called it in, but Lewis left before a patrol could respond. The next day, a 911 caller mentioned Lewis by name and said he looked as if he was breaking into a Howard Beach property with a crowbar.
After Vetrano’s death in August, police combed through leads, but no one at the time was arrested.
The case went cold until last week, when Russo thought police should consider Lewis for the murder.
The NYPD posted the following on their Facebook Page:
THE GREATEST DETECTIVES IN THE WORLD
Outstanding police work by NYPD detectives led to the arrest of a man for the murder of Karina Vetrano. Since August 2016, investigators had been following leads and community tips to find the individual responsible for the crime.
Recently, NYPD Lieutenant John Russo brought information to case detectives about a call for a suspicious man in the Howard Beach area months before the homicide. The lieutenant and detectives continued the investigation that resulted in them arresting the 20-year-old suspect.
Join us in saying thank you and great job to all who were involved in this case.
Police sources said that Lewis confessed to the crime and that there was no motive other than he was “unhinged” and apparently upset there were so many people in the apartment where he lived with his parents.
Lewis has no criminal history, does not work and did not know Vetrano.
Russo said today that it was “good old-fashioned police work” that led to the suspect.
Karina Vetrano’s father, Phil Vetrano, told ABC station WABC-TV in New York on Sunday, “The police did an excellent job.”
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