Wake held for slain Queens jogger; NYPD antes up reward for possible clues

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HOWARD BEACH, Queens – Loved ones will begin to say their goodbyes Friday to Karina Vetrano, whose cold-blooded murder is now the center of a massive NYPD investigation.

"I'm an angel whose wings are so wide, ready to take flight," Vetrano, an aspiring writer, once wrote in poem that was later adapted into a 6-minute movie called "The Paradox" –  a story of the battle between good and evil. Evil ended the 30-year-old life on Tuesday.

Someone sexually assaulted and strangled Vetrano while jogging in a federal park, police said.

"The mother and father are visibly shaken, they want justice," city councilman Eric Ulrich said in a joint Thursday press conference with the NYPD.

Her father, a retired FDNY firefighter, found her body and returned to the scene to speak with detectives Thursday. Police used machetes and mowers to cut down tall weeds for any shred of evidence.

"We're going out looking for bobbles, clothing anything unusual that we can test," NYPD chief Boyce said.

Video surveillance footage recovered so far hasn't proved helpful, prompting police to appeal for tips.

"We increased the reward to $10,000," Boyce said. "There's a severe community threat as you know we think its random."

John Gotti, grandson of the late mob boss, also lives in Howard Beach. He took to Facebook weighing in on the killing, chiding investigators.

"This disaster would have never happened before the government locked up the good guys in that neighborhood," he wrote.

The predominantly Italian-American neighborhood is gripped with grief and fear.

"I hope they catch the guy, you gotta hang him," one neighbor said.

"There's a profound sense of sorrow but a high level of fear someone's on the lose who murdered her in cold blood," Ulrich said.

Vetrano's wake will be held at James Romanelli Stephen Funeral Home in Howard Beach from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. Her funeral will be Saturday afternoon at St. Helen Church.

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