Another runner attacked on Lady Bird Lake trail

The Austin Police Department is reporting another attack on a runner on the hike and bike trail. This is the third incident in recent weeks. Police need your help tracking down whoever is responsible for two of the attacks.

In all three cases, the woman was running and then grabbed from behind. Austin police are trying to find out if any of these cases are related.

Another attack on the Lady Bird Lake hike and bike trail, where Iram Leon and his 10-year-old daughter run often.

"Any of those would have been too much. But, that there's been three in a little over a month, it's frustrating to the community," says Iram Leon, president, Austin Runners Club.

The recent attempted sexual assault happened Wednesday around 6:40 a.m. in the 1700 block of South Lake Shore Blvd. That is along Lady Bird Lake, east of I35. The woman was running along the trail, when all of a sudden police say she was grabbed from behind. The man reportedly tried to pull her into the bushes but she was able to break away.

"At the time of the attack, the runner was actually by herself. I know, having used the trails before, sometimes groups start off together and then they splinter apart as the run continues and as they run at different paces. That's why we encourage you, if you're going to run in a group, find groups that are going to run at similar paces," says Police Chief Brian Manley, Austin Police Department. The suspect is being described as a Hispanic man in his 40s, around 5'11", with dark complexion and short dark hair. He was last seen wearing a hoodie and baggy shorts.

Two similar incidents have happened in recent weeks. The first on August 22nd, where a woman was running on the Austin High School track near Lady Bird Lake around 5 a.m. and was grabbed from behind. In that case, she was also able to get away but police are still looking for the suspect. He's described as a white male in his mid 40s, between 6"- 6'2", medium build, 215 lbs. He was last seen leaving in an older model small car, dark green or blue, with a white stripe on the passenger side.

Then on Sept. 15th there was a sexual assault of a woman running on the trail off Rainey Street. APD says she was grabbed and taken to the ground. As he was assaulting her, witnesses were reportedly able to stop the attack. A few days later, that suspect was arrested and identified as 22-year-old Richard McEachern. Since then, APD has already increased patrols but are now doing even more.

"Around 4:00 in the morning, as their shifts are winding up, we will send officers down to the hike and bike trail on bikes or on foot. They will be clearing the trails, looking for any suspicious activity or any suspicious persons," says Chief Manley.

APD is holding a run/walk event to promote safety awareness:

Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017
6 a.m. and 7 a.m.
Rock on Town Lake, 2100 block of Stephen F. Austin
(look for the SWAT truck parked under Mopac Bridge)

Runners have planned another separate event:

Sunday, October 1, 2017
5:30 a.m.
Rock on Town Lake, 2100 block of Stephen F. Austin

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