A fundraiser created by the father of slain New York jogger Karina Vetrano reached more than $170,000 by Thursday, as thousands of concerned citizens donated money to help find the person responsible for her brutal murder.
Vetrano, 30, was found dead last Tuesday in a marsh in the Howard Beach section of Queens. A fitness buff, Vetrano typically went running with her father, Phil Vetrano, but decided to go it alone when her dad said his back was bothering him.
The devastated father, a retired FDNY firefighter, found his daughter's body later that night as he helped law enforcement comb the area.
He took to social media to cushion the $20,000 reward offered by the NYPD to find the monster who took away his daughter.
"We need your help in bringing this vicious animal to face the most severe punishment allowable by law," the GoFundMe page noted. “Every dollar from you will help to bring her family and our community one step closer to the only thing that can help now and that is an arrest and conviction.”
The fundraiser quickly surpassed its original goal of $100,000, hitting $170,645 in just one day. A new goal of $200,000 was then set.
"These funds are the only thing that we feel we can do to encourage anyone with information to come forward with something that will led to an arrest," loved ones wrote on the page. "We hope and pray that you will read this and recognize that an event like this is universal. It could happen to your daughter, your sister, your mother."
The fundraiser comes after a vigil was held for a jogger, whose naked and burned dead body was discovered on a desolate running path in the Massachusetts town of Princeton Sunday evening.
Vanessa Marcotte, 27, who worked in New York City, was visiting her mother in Massachusetts when she went for a run.
New reports suggest that the young woman could have been strangled; however, they have not been confirmed by authorities who are still conducting an investigation. No official cause of death has been announced.
At the vigil Tuesday night in Princeton, Reverend Linda Michel urged her community: “You cannot live in fear. That's the message we want to get across tonight."
Many wondering if the two murders could be connected and if there is a serial killer on the loose going after joggers.
Authorities have not ruled out a link.