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Jogger Karina Vetrano's death prompts New York police to offer reward for tips

NEW YORK -- A $10,000 reward is now being offered for information leading to an arrest in the death of Karina Vetrano, Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said during an NYPD crime statistics briefing on Thursday, CBS New York reported.

Police said Karina Vetrano was found strangled to death and possibly sexually assaulted on Tuesday. Her body was discovered by her father in a grassy area in the Howard Beach neighborhood of Queens.

Police said they are desperate for tips from the public. They say they've only received three calls to their tip line, none of which have provided much information.

"They're not very informative and they're all anonymous, so we're asking anybody who sees anything here -- anything unusual in this community whatever -- they have to call the Crime Stopper number please," Boyce said.

As CBS New York reported, police seem to be stumped on finding the person - and they believe the community is in danger.

"We believe there's a severe community threat, as you know," Boyce said. "Right now, we think it's random, so we don't think it's anybody in her life that's created this."

Vetrano also proved to be very talented in her young life.

She had a film made based off of her writings, in which she also acted in.

Petros Geogiadias, the filmmaker, told WABC that the short movie was based on one of Vetrano's poems called "The Paradox." The film, posted on Vimeo three years ago, focused on a male and a female battling with the good and bad within themselves.

"She never acted before on film, and this was her first time, and as evident in the final product, she had depth, and she did a great job," Geogiadias told WABC on Thursday.

On Wednesday night, grief-stricken loved ones and neighborhood residents held a vigil for Vetrano. All were shaken and outraged by her murder.

"This girl was a beautiful girl at the prime of her life taken down by an animal," resident DJ Skribble said.

"It's just a terrible tragedy," said resident Mary Lou Dazzo. "It's frightening because I go bike-riding every day right on that path."

An avid runner, Vetrano left her home around 5 p.m. Tuesday for a jog nearby on an unpaved trail in the Spring Creek federal parkland.

Police said she usually went with her father, but this time, an injury kept him home. He got concerned when she didn't answer his calls.

"At some point after that, her father began to get worried, where she was, she didn't return home," Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said. "He called a member of the service, a police chief who lives nearby, who then called 911."

Vetrano's father helped police search, and on Tuesday night, pings from her cellphone led them to a marshy area about 15 feet away from the running path.

Investigators said her dad was the one who found her body.

"The father then went into the woods and then found the body with our detectives right after him," Boyce said. "We found her face down in the ground."

Police sources told CBS New York one of her hands was clutching grass, indicating she may have been dragged, and that a single sneaker and her headphones were missing. She was also found with scrapes on her legs and her sports bra and shorts pulled down, police said.

Neighbors said many frequent the area, including homeless, day laborers and fishermen. It's unclear whether Vetrano knew her killer or was targeted at random.

Vetrano worked at a local catering hall and as a speech pathologist, earning a master's degree from St. John's University last May.

Investigators have put up reward posters in the neighborhood, hoping for any tips that could lead to Vetrano's killer.

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