I was pleased to see that there had finally been an arrest in a murder case out of New York that I have been following for the last 6 months.
Karina Vetrano was a 30-year old woman who had gone out for a late afternoon jog on August 2, 2016 near her home in Queens, New York. When she hadn’t gotten back by a certain time, her family got worried and started looking for her. Hours later they found her body in a weedy park area where she regularly ran (usually with her father). She had been beaten, raped, and strangled.
This case unsettled me more than the average murder partly because she reminded me of my general milieu (30-ish, attractive, fit), but more so because I think random murders that come about from innocuous activities are the most disturbing.
She wasn’t buying drugs or prostituting herself or doing any other thing that’s inherently risky, she just wanted to go for a run outside by herself in her own neighborhood while it was daylight outside. It was around the time where people are starting to commute home from work in New York City of all places – I guess that just goes to show that you’re never really safe anywhere.
And as someone who does the exact same thing from time to time, it certainly opened my eyes up a bit to how vulnerable I make myself in certain situations.
Particularly, a scenario comes to mind from several years ago in one of my old neighborhoods where I used to run regularly along a sidewalk path which formed a perfect 1.5 mile loop. There was about a 5-minute walk from out of my apartment of the time to get to said loop.
One day I was nearing the end of my run and starting to slow down as I approached the turn to get back to my apartment. Walking in the opposite direction was a guy around my age who was pretty unremarkable. We may or may not have made eye contact as we passed and I thought nothing else of him.
I slowed to a walk right after I passed him and soon after turned off the loop onto the street that leads back to my complex. Music helps me greatly in my running endeavors, so I had my iPod blasting away in my ear still as I cooled down. 5 minutes later I had just unlocked the the main door to my building and prepared to spring up the first flight of steps to get to my apartment on the second floor when I felt a tap on my shoulder.
I turned to see the guy I had passed on the tail end of my run not long before. He wanted to know if I had a boyfriend. I didn’t, but I wasn’t interested so I told him I did. He shied away and left after that and it was no harm, no foul.
However, a couple of things did occur to me after the fact that were unsettling:
- He had followed me home and I was completely unaware he was behind me during the whole 5 or so minutes it took for me to get there.
- He wasn’t just behind me, he was RIGHT behind me. I know this because the main door to my building was one of those that closed on its own and locked behind you after you were inside. As he was able to catch the door before it closed and locked, he had to have been REALLY close behind me.
Luckily, this turned out to be an innocuous encounter, but if he had had nefarious intentions I would’ve been at a severe disadvantage. I do keep a firearm or two within reach in my house but I would’ve had to get to it first which would’ve been quite the challenge maybe.
Even still, there have been many more occasions that I have run outside with music in my ears, sometimes in the pre-dawn hours when it’s dark out and it feels like I’m the only one in the world awake at that hour. If I think of it, I put a pocketknife in my sports bra just in case, but I’m not sure how much that would help if someone were to roll up behind me really quickly and snatch me up into a van or to hit me over the head with something. I wouldn’t even hear them coming.
In any case, R.I.P. Karina. I just think that’s really sad.