Families of missing Austin men call for lights, cameras on trail off Rainey Street
AUSTIN, Texas - Two families have banded together to push for the installation of lights and cameras on the Lady Bird Lake Trail right off Rainey Street.
The family of Jason John and Martin Gutierrez both had loved ones last seen leaving Rainey Street on the trail only to be found a week later in the lake.
"It is pitch black. You can't see anything. I mean, there is no lighting," said Mitchell Gutierrez, brother to Martin Gutierrez.
Mitchell Gutierrez has been fighting to get lights and cameras installed on the trail since 2018. It is something he has wanted since his younger brother Martin went missing there four years ago. His body was found one week later in the lake.
- 'Something is happening' on Rainey Street says man who believes his brother was drugged there
- Family of missing Austin man pleading for answers
- Celebrating life of Martin Gutierrez while saying final goodbye
"People are dying, and families are just being crushed and devastated through all of this. Something needs to be done," he said.
The location where Martin was found is almost the exact same spot 30-year-old Jason John’s body was found after he disappeared in early February. The John family had also been searching for a week before receiving the dreaded update.
"We're still in shock and we're still processing, but at least now we have closure," Rinju John told FOX 7 Austin the day after police found his brother Jason.
Mitchell says he reached out to the John family as soon as he heard Jason was missing. He says he saw similarities in both cases almost immediately.
"Same thing: 2 a.m., Rainey Street, on a weekend, went missing out of the norm, didn't answer his phone. Seven days later, they found him," he said.
- Family begging for answers about missing Austin man Jason John
- Missing Austin man's family, friends gather for candlelight vigil
- Family searching for Austin man who went missing walking home from Rainey Street
He says connecting with Jason's older brother Rinju for the first time was surreal.
"It was like I was talking in a mirror. That shock, that pain, that you don't know what to say, what to do, what to feel," said Mitchell.
Now the two families have banded together for a similar goal. A goal to make sure this does not happen to another family again.
"We want this to be something that changes Austin. We want that trail to be lit up. It's hard to believe in 2023 that the entire trail has no cameras on it. There's very little lighting. It's incredibly dark over there and that has to be fixed," said Rinju.
Both families recently sat down with state and local leaders to discuss the idea of lights and cameras on the trails. They feel their plea for change might actually become a reality. If and when it happens, Mitchell says it will be the ultimate testimony to both lives lost.
"Surveillance and lighting will mean that we actually made a change, that something happened, that my brother's death won't go in vain," said Mitchell.