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Family of slain Queens jogger Karina Vetrano participating in NYC Triathlon in her honor

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Karina Vetrano, 30, was killed while jogging in Howard Beach in August 2016. (NYPD)

By Elizabeth Elizalde, New York Daily News

These three men will run, bike and swim for Karina Vetrano — keeping alive the memory of a woman who was their daughter, niece and cousin, slain in one of the city’s most senseless recent murders.

Phil Vetrano, her dad; Robert Parisi, her uncle; and Robert Parisi Jr., her cousin, will tackle Sunday’s New York City Triathlon as a family.

[post_ads]They’ve got a plan: Robert Jr., 49, will do the 1.5-kilometer swim; Vetrano, 62, will do the 6.2-mile run; and Robert Sr., 73, will do the 24.8-mile bike ride.

Vetrano, a retired FDNY firefighter, said it’s important for him and his family to keep his daughter’s spirit alive.

“'The whole world is making a fuss over me’ — that’s probably what she’s thinking, that she didn’t deserve all of this,” he said. “But the world thinks otherwise.”

Karina Vetrano, 30, was murdered while jogging through Spring Creek Park near her Howard Beach home Aug. 2, 2016. Her father found her body hours later in a patch of weeds while helping police during their intensive search.

Cops arrested Chanel Lewis last February, and he confessed to the killing. The 21-year-old was charged with her murder.

Vetrano’s family turned her death into action. Phil Vetrano successfully pushed the state government to allow familial DNA testing in criminal investigations.

Phil Vetrano, father of Karina Vetrano, is participating in Sunday’s New York City Triathlon in her honor. (Phil Vetrano)

DNA of many criminals is not in law enforcement databases. The new policy lets investigators compare DNA found at crime scenes with databases that may include DNA of the suspects’ relatives. The tests have helped catch suspects in violent crimes.

The policy came too late in his daughter’s case — but Vetrano hopes it will help others.

The Vetrano family is also raising money for a scholarship in Karina’s name for Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens where she attended.
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A recent fund-raiser collected $40,000 for the scholarship. Last October, Vetrano’s family raised $16,000 at a golf tournament for her scholarship. They plan another golf fundraiser at Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton, N.J., on Sept. 27.

“More and more things are happening. There are more tributes for her; there are scholarships, you got the familial DNA in New York state passed for her,” Vetrano said.

“Anything that comes up where I can keep her memory alive, like this event, I thought it was a great idea. We’re doing it for her. It’s very important for all of us.”

As for the big race, the men will be wearing purple shirts that say “We run for KV” in white letters on the front, and a pair of angel wings with “KV” underneath them on their backs.

“Karina liked butterflies, so I got a bunch of temporary butterfly tattoos,” Robert Parisi Jr. said. “So every race that I do, I always have a couple of butterfly tattoos on my ankles.”

Vetrano said his daughter is always with him because he wears her ashes in an urn pendant around his neck.

“She’s never not with me,” he said. “She made an impact on everybody, all over the world.”

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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: Family of slain Queens jogger Karina Vetrano participating in NYC Triathlon in her honor
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