Is there a serial killer in Austin? Police chief addresses the rumors
AUSTIN, Texas - Despite the rumors circulating online, Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon told FOX 7 Austin there is no evidence to support a serial killer in Austin.
"Nothing has come to light that would indicate that there is a serial killer in Austin," said Chacon.
In the last two months, four bodies have been found in Lady Bird Lake near Rainey Street:
- February 13th: Jason John, age 30
- March 5th: Clifton Axtell, age 40
- April 1st: Jonathan Honey, age 33
- April 15th: John Christopher Hays-Clark, age 30
"Our initial information doesn't show anything suspicious," APD Officer Michael Bullock told media Saturday when Hays-Clark's body was discovered.
Despite police repeatedly saying no foul play is suspected, rumors continue to circulate online of a possible serial killer in Austin. One media headline reads, "Fears of a ‘Rainey Street Ripper’ serial killer in Austin after EIGHTH body in less than a year is pulled from Lady Bird Lake in the city".
A Facebook group called "Lady Bird Lake Serial Killer/Rainey St Killer" has over 71,000 followers. Posts in the group are made on almost a daily basis with theories and claims in support of the idea of a serial killer.
FOX 7 Austin caught up with Chief Chacon to ask about the serial killer rumors. He said those rumors are just rumors.
"I realize that there is a rampant rumor about a potential serial killer here in Austin," said Chief Chacon. "We've found no evidence of that."
Chief Chacon added the deaths in Lady Bird Lake are nothing out of the ordinary. He says those deaths are tragic, but it happens every year in the city.
"It's a horrible circumstance that we have these, and we look at each one to determine the circumstances in which they occurred," he said. "Some of them are accidental, unfortunately, some of them are also suicides."
If anything changes, Chief Chacon says APD will let the public know.
"Believe me, we would be passing that information along to the public very promptly," he said.
The City of Austin has increased safety measures around the trail near Rainey Street. This includes a fence, lights, and an increased law enforcement presence.