Police advise caution after North Campus homicide

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Police advise caution after a murder and two assaults occurred in the North Campus area early Sunday morning. APD officials are in the process of investigating all three incidents.

The Austin Police Department investigated a 9-1-1 call received at 2:46 AM on New Year’s Day. The call described an injured woman at her home in the 3100 block of King Street. The woman, later identified as Esmeralda Barrera, was pronounced dead after the arrival of the police.

APD does not have a suspect for the murder in custody, but the two assaults in the area that morning which Department members believe might be related to Barrera’s murder, according to a press release issued by the police department.

The first woman, attacked while walking on King Street, was able to provide a description of her attacker which UTPD officials have released online “in hopes of alerting the public and also receiving information from the public.” The suspect was described as a 30 to 40 year old black male with large dark brown eyes. He was described as approximately six feet tall, with a muscular build and was last seen wearing blue jeans and a grey jacket over a dark colored t-shirt.

About half an hour before the murder, a woman walking on the 3100 block of King Street in the neighborhood behind Boomerang's Pies on Guadalupe Street was assaulted. After the murder, a third woman was assaulted in her home in the 300 block of East 31st Street between Speedway and Duval Street.

APD would not release the police report for any of the incidents, give the names of the other two victims, or describe in any more detail the nature of the assaults, as the investigation is still ongoing.

“Residents should always be aware of their surroundings,” Veneza Aguinaga, spokesperson for APD said. “Keep all doors and windows locked and report any suspicious persons, noises, activities by calling 911.”

The UT Police Department also sent out an email to students describing the incidents and releasing information about the suspect’s appearance Monday night.

“The Austin Police Department is the Agency investigating the case so [additional] information [about the incidents] should come through APD,” Aguinaga said. “UTPD is doing an excellent job of keeping students informed about the case from information we release.”

APD would not release the police report for any of the incidents, give the names of the other two victims, or describe in any more detail the nature of the assaults, as the investigation is still ongoing.

The Austin Police Department urged anyone with information about Barrera’s activities earlier that night or about the suspect in her murder to contact the Homicide Tip Line at 477-3588 or Crimestoppers at 472-TIPS.