There’s something within the water.
Repeatedly, males have turned up lifeless in Austin, Texas’, Woman Hen Lake, a stretch of the Colorado River working via the guts of town, close to a well-liked strip of bars and meals vans on Rainey Road.
4 this 12 months, and in accordance with native studies, as many as eight up to now 10 months.
Nevertheless, whereas police say they’ve discovered no indicators of trauma on the victims or proof of foul play, specialists on the skin say so many drownings in a single place could be a hanging coincidence.
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“That lake and these bars have been there for years,” Kevin Gannon, a former NYPD detective sergeant, advised Alokito Mymensingh 24 Digital. “All the sudden [these deaths] occur on the identical time? It isn’t according to regular unintended drownings.”
“Simply from the sheer quantity and the truth that there’s so many in a brief time frame, I do not consider that it is unintended.”
Particularly when it takes effort to get right down to the waterfront from the favored night time spot, which is a few blocks away.
The solutions to different lingering questions are possible identified to investigators however to not the general public, mentioned John Kelly, a prison profiler who has interviewed quite a few serial killers.
“I might be serious about realizing what these guys had in frequent in addition to Rainey Road,” he advised Alokito Mymensingh 24 Digital. “Did they go to the identical bar?…One thing else that bothers me is that they appear to not be with buddies. They’re on their lonesome.”
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Austin police recognized the latest sufferer Monday afternoon as John Christopher Hays-Clark, 30. He was pronounced lifeless on the scene close to a dam about two miles down river from the place the others have been discovered, nearer to Rainey Road.
“Whereas the investigation remains to be within the early phases, we don’t suspect foul play was concerned primarily based on the data we’ve right now,” police mentioned. “The investigation stays ongoing, and we’ve no additional info to supply.”
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“Though these circumstances are nonetheless beneath investigation and proof is being analyzed, right now, there isn’t a proof in any of those circumstances to assist allegations of foul play,” Austin police mentioned in a press release. “Whereas every incident has occurred on the lake, the circumstances, actual places, and demographics surrounding these circumstances fluctuate.”
Police discovered Jason John, 30, lifeless in Woman Hen Lake in February, every week after he was final been seen on Rainey Road, which has a well-liked row of bars close to the water. Clifton Axtell, 40, was recognized as the person discovered lifeless on March 5. Jonathan Honey, 33, was discovered on April 1, a day after he was final seen at a meals truck on Rainey Road.
Jamie Hammonds, of DashATX, has additionally raised doubts concerning the deaths being a collection of unintended drownings – and he advised Alokito Mymensingh 24 Digital Wednesday that he has heard repeatedly from locals nightmare tales of getting slipped medication on Rainey Road.
“I’ve been digging into this now for the final couple of weeks just about each day, and the percentages of this occurring this many deaths in that one spot, all males across the identical age, the percentages are fairly astronomical if that is only a coincidence,” he mentioned.
Post-mortem studies weren’t but accessible, however police mentioned the victims confirmed no indicators of trauma, and so they had not seen proof of foul play. Nevertheless, medication like GHB, generally often called “roofies,” are rapidly metabolized and could be out of a sufferer’s system by the point they attain a forensic pathologist, Hammonds famous. That’s if the health worker even checks for them.
Involved residents have voiced their fears at public hearings on social media, the place a Fb group devoted to the subject has attracted 70,000 members up to now few weeks.
“There are too many individuals which have gone lacking,” Austin resident Christopher Pugh advised the Austin Metropolis Council earlier this month. “There are too many individuals which have been injured. There are too many individuals that may stroll off, and we nonetheless have completely no solutions as to what has occurred to any of these of us.”
Pugh’s 21-year-old son, Christian, went lacking for a number of days in 2019 after partying on Rainey Road. Search groups discovered him alive however in “very tough situation” and disoriented within the brush of a climbing path on the opposite facet of the lake, FOX 7 Austin reported on the time.
“One frequent theme of the drownings in Austin this 12 months is the mix of alcohol and easy accessibility to Woman Hen Lake, which has quite a few entry factors,” police mentioned. “Most of the entry factors could be difficult to see at night time.”
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They famous that these areas shut at 10 p.m. and urged folks to not enter them at night time.
Nevertheless, investigations into every of the deaths remained energetic this week.
Regardless of the dearth of proof of foul play, hypothesis a couple of potential serial killer has swirled.
Austin has had one different serial killer up to now, across the time of Jack the Ripper. The “Servant Lady Annihilator” is believed to have killed eight ladies between December 1884 and December 1885. Nobody was ever caught.
Nevertheless, the lake circumstances seem to have extra in frequent with more moderen crimes.
Starting within the mid Nineties, a gang of “Smiley Face Killers” has been proposed because the supply of quite a few deaths of younger males discovered within the Midwest. In these circumstances, younger, match males have been discovered lifeless in our bodies of water after that they had final been seen out consuming.
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Simply final month, New York Metropolis police introduced investigations into two separate gangs suspected of drugging folks in Manhattan bars to be able to use the victims’ unconscious faces to unlock their telephones with facial recognition know-how. The thieves drained their cellular banking accounts and apps like Venmo and Money App. These rings are nonetheless beneath investigation, though prosecutors have introduced arrests and indictments.
“Simply from the sheer quantity and the truth that there’s so many in a brief time frame, I do not consider that it is unintended,” mentioned Gannon, who with the NYPD was credited with greater than 1,000 felony arrests and, on the time of his retirement, probably the most embellished officer within the division’s historical past.
Gannon was later a part of a non-public investigation into the “Smiley Face” serial killer concept chronicled within the Oxygen docuseries, “Smiley Face Killers: The Hunt for Justice.”
Whereas Austin police examine the deaths, metropolis officers have additionally addressed security issues concerning the waterfront, putting in new fencing and weighing proposals starting from including lights or rising police patrols.
“From the skin in, not having been there, it seems to have been focused, simply due to what the numbers say and the situation, all in Woman Hen Lake,” Gannon mentioned.
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The Austin Metropolis Council mentioned potential upgrades at and close to the Rainey Road Trailhead, between the nightlife district and the river financial institution, together with including park ranger patrols and stationing emergency responders within the space, FOX 7 Austin reported earlier this month.
Pugh, the person whose son was discovered within the brush after vanishing in 2019, known as for cameras to be put in within the space.
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Mitchell Gutierrez, whose brother drowned after going lacking from Rainey Road in 2018, mentioned on the assembly he believes 12 folks have died in related style “by his rely” since his brother’s demise.
His brother, Martin Gutierrez, was an skilled swimmer, in accordance with Hammonds.
“He had swam competitively in highschool,” he mentioned. “I am unable to perceive how anyone like that may simply fall within the water and drown.”
Alokito Mymensingh 24′ Chris Eberhart and Haley Chi-Sing contributed to this report.