Murdered Jogger Cases in Queens, Princeton, Michigan: Are There Similarities?

Karina Vetrano

Karina Vetrano, the Queens jogger who was murdered in August. (Facebook)

Three young women have been murdered while jogging in three different states between July 30 and August 7. Could the cases be related?

There are some similarities beyond the obvious fact all three young women – Karina Vetrano, Ally Brueger, and now Vanessa Marcotte – were jogging when they died in just over a week’s time span.

Two of the women – Brueger and Marcotte – were jogging in the afternoon. All of the women were pretty brunettes in roughly the same age range described as vibrant and positive personalities by those who knew them. They were all between the ages of 27 and 31, were creative, professional women, and were found in remote areas.

Vanessa Marcotte

Vanessa Marcotte. (Twitter)

The Marcotte and Vetrano cases are the most similar; in both of those cases, authorities are investigating whether they are random attacks and the women were sexually assaulted. Although Vetrano was murdered in Queens and Marcotte in Massachusetts, both women were from New York, were active on Instagram and other social media, and they were murdered in locations just over three hours apart. Marcotte and Brueger died in areas with little crime.

However, there are also differences pointing to the possibility that three separate killers might be at work. The three women died in different states. And the method of murder was different in each, according to preliminary reports at least; Brueger was shot, Vetrano was strangled, and Marcotte was burned, authorities said.

In all three cases, the assailant is unknown.

Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said in a press conference that there was nothing to indicate a serial killer is at work, at least right now.

Speaking on the Marcotte case Aug. 8, Early said there was “nothing at this point” connecting Marcotte’s death to Vetrano’s, according to The New York Daily News. He was not asked about the Brueger case, which was in Michigan, although authorities in Michigan have said they think Brueger might have known her killer.

There is also the unsolved case of Connecticut jogger Melissa Millan, a pretty brunette 54-year-old, who was stabbed in the chest.

Here’s what you need to know about the cases:


Vanessa Marcotte

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Vanessa Marcotte. (Instagram)

Vanessa Marcotte, 27, a Google employee from New York City, was murdered while jogging in Massachusetts.

Marcotte went jogging around 1 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 7, and her body was later found in the woods. WFXT said Marcotte was visiting her mother in Princeton, Massachusetts when she died. MassLive said Marcotte may have been sexually assaulted and then set on fire.

WCVB said Marcotte’s body was naked and her hands, feet and part of her head were burned.

It was not yet clear whether the homicide was random, authorities said, according to ABC. Marcotte’s body was discovered a half mile from her mother’s home.

She was described by those who knew her as creative, friendly, and positive, said Fox 25 Boston.

Early said investigators have a “horrible set of facts,” said MassLive. The Boston Globe said Marcotte “graduated from the Bancroft School in Worcester in 2007 and from Boston University in 2011, where she studied communications.”


Karina Vetrano

Karina Vetrano Queens Jogger Murder

Karina Vetrano, Instagram.

Karina Vetrano, 30, was raped and murdered while jogging through Spring Creek Park in Howard Beach, New York, on a nightly jog she took. The New York Post says she was killed while running on a “remote dirt path through the underdeveloped marshy land.”

Her teeth were broken during a struggle in which she was dragged off a path, while clutching clumps of grass and her body was black and blue, said Radar Online.

She went for the jog at 5 p.m., said Pix 11. WABC-TV said the medical examiner determined Vetrano was strangled.

Authorities have DNA in the Vetrano case and are working to see if it could lead to the killer’s identification, said NBC New York, adding that Vetrano put up a “good fight” and that police found her sneaker and ear bud.

The TV station said police are considering whether Vetrano’s murder was a random attack and that NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said the department believes there is a “severe community threat.” Newsday said that Vetrano had recently broken up with her boyfriend but he is not considered a suspect.

Karina’s father, Philip Vetrano, a retired firefighter, normally jogged with her but was having back pain that night, ABC said. He was with police when they found her body in a marshland on Aug. 2, said ABC News.

Cathy Vetrano, Karina’s mother, told The New York Daily News: “My daughter was a force to be reckoned with.” With shaking hands, she said to her daughter’s killer, “And I guarantee you, you motherf—–, that you will be reckoning with that force, not only for the rest of your pathetic life, but for the rest of eternity as you f—— burn in hell,” said The Daily News.

Karina lived in Ozone Park, and her family requested donations to St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital or North Shore Animal League of America in her memory, her obituary said.

The New York Times said Vetrano had a master’s degree in speech pathology and worked for years at a lounge in Queens and a restaurant and wine bar. She also wrote a prolific blog in which she discussed love, sex, her own funeral – and murder.


Ally Brueger

Ally Brueger was shot to death in Michigan while jogging on July 30. She died along a rural road in Oakland County, Michigan, said Mlive.

WJBK said Brueger, 31, was left to die by the assailant and collapsed on the porch of a neighbor, who called 911.

Ally was a registered nurse who was getting her master’s degree and had a passion for creative writing. She was shot on a mid-afternoon jog, said The Oakland Press, adding that police think the shooting was not random and that Brueger knew her killer.

On Aug. 8, the Michigan State Police said they were who hoping to hear from anyone who “saw a white or light-colored four-door vehicle,” according to The Oakland Press. They asked people with such information to call investigators at 855-MICH-TIP, said the Oakland Press.

MLive noted that target shooting and hunting are common in the area. Ally was described as sweet, witty, and serious minded.


Other Cases of Murdered Joggers Over the Years Include The Unsolved Case of a Connecticut Jogger

In 2014, a life insurance executive was killed while jogging near her Simsbury, Connecticut home, said The New York Daily News. Melissa Millan, a triathlete, was stabbed, said the newspaper. She had access to sensitive banking information. The murder remains unsolved (it’s just over 1.5 hours from Simsbury to Princeton).

Other joggers have been murdered over the years; the isolation can make joggers a target of opportunity for killers. In February, Christian Bautista was convicted of stabbing jogger Lauren Bump to death in San Antonio. Bump, 24, had gone jogging while home from college. In 2006, Scott J. Deojay, 37, was convicted in the beating and strangulation death of Judith M. Nilan, a social worker who had gone jogging in Massachusetts.

Two women have invented a booby trap bra containing a knife to protect joggers in the wake of Vetrano’s murder.

17 Comments

17 Comments

Jennifer

Karina Vetrano is from Howard Beach, not Ozone Park. Get your facts straight!

Pop

These damn crimes are so easy to prevent, I have my daughter carry one of my handguns, a small Ruger LCR, legalities be dammed and they would still be living.

Neo

These are two Psychopaths both competing for the most horrific act. Most likely know each other or possibly the Massachusetts incident is Copycat related. Unfortunately this might start a chain of copycats. Please, everyone take care and be careful.