APD says sexual assualt earlier this week has similarities to November attacks

The Austin Police Department is trying to figure out if a sexual assault attack earlier this week is linked to two other cases that happened in November.

Officers said the attacks that happened in November do have similarities to the one that happened Monday, but they are investigating them still as two separate cases.

Arielle Dunbar said she chooses to run on the Lady Bird Lake trail during her lunch break. "I run from my work, down as far as I can go in 15 minutes and then go back."  She said she feels pretty safe, but she does always carry her cell phone. "Just in case something happens, I am able to reach out," she said.

APD bicycle officers normally patrol the hike and bike trails regularly, but after recent attacks you may see them more often. "They will step it up a little more, they want to be able to find these people as soon as possible," said Senior Patrol Officer Demtri Hobbs of the Austin Police Department.

The woman who was attacked on Monday was jogging near Austin Community College's Riverside Campus around 10 in the morning. The woman fought back, and the man ran away. Surveillance cameras at ACC caught a glimpse of him running past. The woman described the man as a Hispanic male, in his 20s.

Back in November, two different women were assaulted by a man that fit a similar description. The first woman was attacked on November 10th, on 5th street and Perdernales. The other, was attacked on November 30th, on the hike and bike trail between Perdernales and Llano streets. While there is one possibly two sexual assault suspects on the loose APD said everyone needs to be alert and report anything suspicious.

They said if you do encounter an attacker fight back. “Kick, scream, bite, do whatever you have to, punch, do whatever you have to do and that's your life, protect your life," said Officer Hobbs.

Officer Hobbs said some good tips if you do hit the trail.

  • Look ahead and behind you
  • Try not to go alone
  • Don't run in the dark
  • Run with mace, or a whistle to make noise
  • Carry your cell phone
  • Don't be afraid to call 911 if you see anything or anyone suspicious
  • Don’t wear both your earbuds if you’re wearing headphones, so you can still hear what’s going on around you