Austin police take over probe of body found on UT campus

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Austin police say they're taking the lead in the homicide investigation of a woman found dead in the heart of the University of Texas campus and that Texas Rangers also are part of the probe.

Authorities on Wednesday had not released a cause of death or the woman's identity. She was found Tuesday in a creek near the campus alumni center and the football stadium.

Campus President Greg Fenves said he requested Austin police take over the investigation because of their expertise and to work with state and campus investigators.

It was unclear if authorities have identified a suspect. An Austin police spokeswoman said authorities were not ready to release additional information and the Texas Department of Public Safety did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

The University of Texas is encouraging students to follow several safety recommendations as the investigation continues. 

The UT Police Department urges people to follow the below safety recommendations:

  • When walking you should be mindful of your surroundings.  Keep your head up and your eyes open.  Save the cellphone call or text for a time when you are not as vulnerable.
  • Make sure you can hear the happenings around you.  Do not put both ear buds in your ears if listening to music.  Let one ear bud dangle so you can hear things around you.
  • Trust your instincts.  If you find yourself in a situation or location that does not feel safe or comfortable, change your environment and do so immediately.
  • Learn well lit, heavily travelled, routes and use those routes.
  • Do not be afraid to be loud.  If you need help; scream for help. 
  • Walking in groups is always safer.
  • The University of Texas at Austin Student Government runs a program called SURE Walk.  The SURE Walk program provides foot escorts from two volunteers when requested.  The volunteers are form trusted student organizations and consist of one female volunteer and one male volunteer.  The program operates Monday through Thursday evenings from 10 p.m. until 2:00 a.m.  For more information about this program, visit: http://utsg.org/projects/sure-walk/
  • The University of Texas at Austin Police Department will provide a courtesy escort when requested and based on availability.  Contact the police dispatcher at 512-471-4441; option 9 to request a courtesy escort. 
  • Learn what you can do to defend yourself.  There are several options available to enhance your ability to protect and defend yourself.  The UT Police Department offers the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) Program to female faculty, staff and student members.  In this program, students learn a variety of things including situational awareness, crime prevention and basic, hands-on self-defense techniques.  For more information about the RAD program, visit: http://police.utexas.edu/rad/ .  Other campus options include joining a recreational sports club that focuses on one of the many self-defense techniques or martial arts.  You could also take informal classes pertaining to self-defense techniques. 

The University of Texas at Austin Police Department asks that anyone with information about this crime to contact 512-471-4441; option 9.

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