Search for suspect who put woman in choke hold while walking her dogs

The attack happened along part of South 2nd Street on Wednesday, July 17. A woman said she was walking her dogs when a man came up behind her and put her in a choke hold.

"Her quick wits, she responded with some self-defense tactics, he responded by running away, she followed him for a short period and determined that would not be safe at that point time she contacted police," said APD Detective Steven Krippner.

The woman, according to investigators, didn't hear the man come up from behind because she was on the phone. The man disappeared around South Center Street.

"At this point in time we do not have any additional leads," said Krippner. 

The neighborhood is quiet. A school is close by, as well as a small business complex. It is not uncommon to see residents, like Natalia Suprun, out for morning walks.

"Every day, every morning every night I walk ... and feel safe before," said Natalia Suprun. Suprun said she hopes the attack was a one-time incident.

Jenny Kent, who works in the neighborhood, said she generally feels safe, but doesn't let her guard down. "There are a lot of services in the area for people who are homeless or in Transition, so we tend to have a lot of folks coming by that are passing through," said Kent.

The crime scene is a block away from Ben White and a wooded area where transient camps are known to set up close to the rail road tracks. Not far away is a converted hotel that provides low cost housing and it is next to the office building the City of Austin recently purchased for a new homeless center.

None of the sites are currently linked to the attack. They are close enough for residents to question why it took so long to get word out regarding the July 17 attack. 

"Yeah, a heads up would have been good," said Kent.

Suprun wondered if the delay was done to help the investigation.

It's not uncommon for the Austin Police Department to hold on to information and wait weeks, if not months, before going public regarding some sexual assaults and home break-ins. FOX 7 has been told in the past, that investigators, at times, do not immediately release information in order to not scare off the offender.

The reason for the delay in the July 17th  case appears to be more bureaucratic than tactical. "It was handled, classified up font as a Kidnapping, and handled appropriately. When it was reclassified as an Assault with Injury, it was triaged of sorts, and sent to my cue on Tuesday. I didn't arrive at work until Tuesday, which is when I immediately called the victim," said Det. Krippner.

The man is described as being White or Hispanic. He's about 5'5". Notable features include; a stocky build, dark hair, sideburns, a round chin and hairy arms. There are a few security cameras near the crime scene, but investigators say none of the cameras recorded images of the attacker.