Austin police released a statement on social media regarding the string of bodies pulled from Lady Bird Lake while they continue investigating how the most recent victim died.
“Although these cases are still under investigation and evidence is being analyzed, at this time, there is no evidence in any of these cases to support allegations of foul play,” part of the statement posted on Facebook and Twitter Monday reads.
Speculation is swirling among people who live in Austin and are familiar with downtown entertainment, especially along Rainey Street.
“I’m thinking maybe somebody who drank too much and fell. But if it’s somebody really doing harm, it’s concerning,” Marisa de la Paz, who is visiting Austin, told FOX 7.
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The body of Jonathan Honey, 33, was found at approximately 12:49 pm Saturday near 10 Rainey Street. He was last seen at a taco truck on Rainey Street around 2 am Friday, March 31. Honey was visiting Texas’ capital city from Washington, DC
In recent years, at least five men in their 20s or 30s have been found in the lake under similar circumstances, according to FOX 7:
- 2015: Julio Santos, 22.
- 2018: Martin Gutierrez, 25.
- 2019: Christian Pugh, 21 (found alive).
- February 2023: Jason John, 30.
- April 2023: Jonathan Honey, 33.
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The family of Jason John, whose body was found in the lake in February, told the TV station they believe the incidents could be connected, even though John’s autopsy report states he died by accidental drowning.
Since John’s death temporary lights have been installed in an area near the lake, as well as low fencing and signs warning of the risk of drowning.
A larger, more permanent solution is reportedly in the works by the Trail Conservancy, but is not expected to be completed until the end of this year.
The full statement by Austin police read as follows:
“The Austin Police Department is aware of speculations regarding the recent drownings in Lady Bird Lake. Although these cases are still under investigation and evidence is being analyzed, at this time, there is no evidence in any of these cases to support allegations of foul play. While each incident has occurred at the lake, the circumstances, exact locations, and demographics surrounding these cases vary. Our investigators approach every case with an open mind and objectively examine all available evidence.
We work closely with the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office, which conducts a parallel investigation into all deaths. The Medical Examiner performs autopsies in each of these types of death investigations. The results of these autopsies have not revealed any trauma to the bodies nor indication of foul play.
One common theme of the drownings in Austin this year is the combination of alcohol and easy access to Lady Bird Lake, which has numerous access points. Many of the access points can be challenging to see at night. The parks in which most of these drownings have occurred are park areas that close at 10:00 pm and occur after the park closes. We advise the public to follow the rules on park closures.”