Father of Slain Howard Beach Jogger Runs for Daughter at Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Charity Event

NY Daily News - September 27, 2016

by Danny Lewis, Reuven Blau

The yearly Tunnel to Towers charity run Sunday was a sad reminder of loss for family and friends of the slain Howard Beach jogger.

Grieving father, Philip Vetrano, joined the estimated 30,000 runners who finished the 3.1. mile course from Brooklyn to the World Trade Center. That's the route hero FDNY Firefighter Stephen Siller took on Sept. 11, 2001, as he ran to help those inside the burning towers.

On Sunday, Vetrano, a retired firefighter, ran the charity route with a reward poster pinned on his back.

His daughter, Karina, 30, was raped and strangled during a jog inside Spring Creek Park in Howard Beach on Aug. 2.

The family is offering $200,000 for any information that leads to an arrest.

“We’re still working with police,” Philip Vetrano said at the start of the race.

He was joined by about 60 friends and loved ones who were running in Karina’s honor.

“It was a tragedy that happened. She was an amazing person,” said high school friend Gio Breciani. “We’re out here running for Karina because that’s what she loved to do. We celebrate her life by running for her.” “It changes you,” added family friend Victor Nieves.

He stressed the event was also about honoring those who died on 9/11, which he witnessed while working as a plumber in Park Slope.

“It’s emotional, these things,” he said, tears welling in his eyes. “With Karina, it’s just hit after hit.” Michele Kelly, 35, carried a sign memorializing her friend, FDNY Capt. Timothy Stackpole, who died on 9/11.

The 42-year-old was one of the 343 Bravest killed in the World Trade Center attacks.

His son, Brendan Stackpole, joined the FDNY last year. “This is my first time at the run and my first time going back to the towers since 9/11,” said Kelly, an art teacher at Public School 207 in Brooklyn.

The run was established in 2002 to honor Siller, a father of five from Staten Island. He ran to the World Trade Center through the Battery Tunnel - now the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel - in response to the deadly terrorist attacks.

The charity has raised more than $50 million for causes like helping wounded soldiers and Hurricane Sandy victims. As for Vetrano, the NYPD has received close to 200 tips about the murder. But there has been no arrest.

Anyone with information regarding the killing is urged to call NYPD Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.