The person with knowledge of the investigation stated that the investigators were looking for two white men for nearly two weeks until Deputy Chief Emanuel J. Katranakis, Commander of the Judicial Investigation Division, receives results. of phenotype suggesting that the DNA was taken from Mrs. Vetrano's neck and The phone belonged to a black man.
The next day, Detective Chief Robert K. Boyce ordered the detectives to search for DNA samples from black men who had been arrested in areas close to the crime scene, the person said. .
About 384 black men were questioned and gave saliva samples, the source told the survey, offering a number even greater than that suggested by defense lawyers. The samples were entered into the local DNA indexing system or LDIS, a database maintained by the city's medical examiner's office.
A second person familiar with the investigation said that once the detectives had discovered that DNA belonged to a black man, they were focusing on blacks recently arrested in East New York City in Brooklyn and at Howard Beach and South Ozone Park in Queens. In addition, security cameras in the area did not show anyone leaving Spring Creek Park on the Queens side, which prompted investigators to focus on Brooklyn, finding that the attacker had fled into this direction.
"You try to find the killer and you use your resources as smartly as possible," said the second person.
Still, there was no DNA match and the investigation was blocked for six months. Then Mr. Lewis, who is black, was questioned on the recommendation of a police lieutenant, John Russo. Several months before the murder, Lieutenant Russo said, he spotted Mr. Lewis twice "acting with suspicion" and walking slowly through Howard Beach, a mostly white neighborhood.
The detectives obtained a saliva sample from Mr. Lewis, who lived in East New York, Brooklyn, about three miles from Howard Beach. Experts in forensics have stated that her DNA matched the traces found on Ms. Vetrano's neck and cell phone, as well as a mixture. two of his nails, prosecutors said.