HOWARD BEACH, Queens -- (WPIX) -- A Brooklyn man was charged Sunday in the death of Karina Vetrano, who was murdered while jogging in a marshy area in Howard Beach last August.
Chanel Lewis, 20, was charged with second-degree murder and is being held without bail, police said. He faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
"The person allegedly responsible for her brutal murder finally has been brought to justice," Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.
Lewis was taken into police custody about 6 p.m. Saturday after investigators followed hundreds of leads from the public and sifted through more than 1,700 investigative reports, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said in a news conference Sunday.
Investigators, however, had Lewis on their radar since Thursday when they paid a visit to him at his East New York home.
"He freely gave a [mouth] swab of his DNA to us. We brought that immediately to the Office of Chief Medical Examiner. Within two days we had a hit," Boyce said.
Police also developed a profile of Lewis after linking him to pieces of DNA that were found underneath Vetrano's fingernails, neck and her cellphone, Boyce said. He also gave "detailed incriminating statements and admissions" when he was taken into custody.
"Karina helped us identify this person," Boyce said. "The big thing is, we got it from her, from her person."