Austin police arrest a man for hike and bike trail sex assault

Austin police say they have arrested a man for sexually assaulting a jogger along the hike and bike trail.

"First is just happiness that they found him. I have been thinking about this guy constantly,” said Colin Bell.

Austin Runners Club member Colin Bell is relieved to hear police found a sex assault suspect he encountered on the hike and bike trail last Friday.

"He was kind of skipping along. He had what I thought was a smirk on his face,” said Bell.

When Bell and two of his friends neared the end of Rainey Street they saw a woman with two men helping her. She'd just been attacked.

"She didn't have pants on. She had a longer shirt that just kind of covered up her knees kind of rocking. Definitely a bad place,” said Bell.

The woman told officers she was jogging when a man who they've identified as 22-year-old Richard McEachern grabbed her from behind and covered her mouth. She says she was dragged for a bit, her shoes and shorts removed and she was sexually assaulted.

Joggers heard her screams and stopped.

"One of the joggers who interrupted that I was telling you was armed, attempted to keep that person at gun point. However, the victim jumped up, kind of got in the way and the suspect took that opportunity to run off,” said APD Assistant Chief Joseph Chacon.

Police were able to pull an image of McEachern off surveillance cameras at the Mexican American Cultural Center. They distributed the photo. On Monday, officers found him naked from the waist down, sleeping in the vicinity of the assault on the hike and bike trail and took him into custody. His mug shot is being withheld.

Officers talked about the case for the first time on Wednesday five days after the attack happened.

FOX 7 learned about it after bell and his friends circulated the information on social media. Some felt there was a disservice as police did not report it first.

"Maybe this is a lesson just for the community of how to get the information out there. We have the ability to get it out there it's just knowing one that it matters, somebody in that state of mind who's willing to go to those lengths is probably not a one offender and just thinking about the lives of the people you could protect about getting the information out there,” said Bell.

Assistant Cheif Joseph Chacon says they are reviewing their reporting process.

"Without harming the investigation, are there ways we can put the information out on these kind of unknown offender type of cases,” said Chacon.

Bell continues to use the trail. He hopes the victim will one day be able to return as well.

"I think the lady bird lake trail is one of the best assets of Austin and to not have that, to not be able to run, to feel a psychological barrier there would be tough. So I hope she's able to move past it,” said Bell.

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