Austin police are looking for a sexual predator who they believe is responsible for two separate attacks. An alert was issued Tuesday about the incidents.
The first attack took place - near the intersection of East 5th & Pedernales on November 10th. The second happened Monday, November 30th, along the Lady Bird Lake hike and bike trail between Pedernales and Llano streets. Investigators believe the attacks were committed by the same man although they admit they're not 100% sure.
"That’s all we have, they are still investigating, I think, so of it, the similarity as far as being a Hispanic male, sort brown hair, we're waiting also on sketches, talking to the victims, to see if they have a sketch and see if they match in any way,” said APD Spokesperson Ivan Ramos.
The attacks took place in broad daylight between 9 A.M. and noon. Both locations offer completely different settings, but they do have one thing in common; they are in a part of town that is experience a great deal of growth.
Police suggest that those who use the trials - to do so in pairs - or at least have they type of companion Dorsey Barger take on her walks.
"Yes, I don’t feel concern to tell you the truth, I've always been concern that somebody has been attacked, but it’s not something that makes me feel fearful … I’m going to continue to walk down here and keep my eyes open,” said Barger when I asked if she was going to do anything different.
Guadalupe Garcia and Rosalinda Soto had a different reaction to my question.
"I was shocked when you mentioned it to me. I said what! Said Garcia.
Soto lives a few doors down from where the first attack happened. As a result- she plans to keep her doors and windows locked more often.
"Yes, yes definitely and we will have to bring it up to our neighborhood associations so they can be aware of it too,” said Soto.
And that course of action -- police hope - may also help provide the tip that will lead to an arrest.
APD Trail Safety Tips:
- Familiarize yourself with the trail and plan your route
- Hike with a friend. In case of an emergency, you can help each other out.
- If going solo, let at least one friend or family member know your route, expected return time, and description of your clothing
- Make sure your cell phone is fully charged
- Never use trails after dark
- Carry identification and include name, phone number, and medical information (allergies, medications, medical history) Consider listing an emergency contact number.
- Use discretion when acknowledging strangers
- Keep the volume down on your headphones or use just one earphone in order to hear and be alerted to approaching hazards
- Stay on marked trails
- Remain aware of your surroundings
- Do not approach homeless encampments or hostile people engaged in illegal activities
- Carry at least one light source even if you begin your adventure during daylight hours. In the event you become lost or disoriented and nightfall results, you can use the light to illuminate your route or for emergency signaling.
- Keeps a whistle with your gear for emergency signaling
- "Drop a pin" or take a pictures with your cellphone of your entry point and trail markers as you pass them. Send them to a family member or friend as a "check-in".
- If lost, use a compass or smartphone to pinpoint your location coordinates or be prepared to describe your location with basic orienteering techniques (last past roadway/intersection, maintaining knowledge of direction of travel, etc…)