Man wanted in sexual assault along I-35 in south Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) - Austin police are searching for a man who they say sexually assaulted a woman in a secluded area off of Interstate 35 near Woodward Street.

The victim told police she was approached from behind around 1 p.m. on Monday, March 12. She said the suspect forced her into the area near Woodward Street. 

The suspect is described as a white man, approximately 6 feet tall with a lot of body hair. He is also bald but has a blonde mustache and blonde beard.

He was last seen wearing a burnt orange shirt, dark gray workout pants and dark-colored shoes. 

KXAN asked Detective Christina Angeles from the Austin Police Department sex crimes unit if the public is in danger.

"Stranger assaults don't occur very often so I would say no but we do want their assistance, the public's assistance in identifying who this person is," said Det. Angeles.

According to county records, the wooded lot is owned by St. Edwards University and is just south of Blunn Creek Nature Preserve.

You can walk into this wooded area for a couple hundred yards. There are paths but no lights. That could be a concern to police. Right in the middle, there's a St. Edward's University composting area with a gravel path around it.

St. Edward's sent out a notice to faculty and staff, but when asked didn't say whether they'll add lights, fences or additional safety measures. A spokesperson says the victim has "no known affiliation" with the university. 

Scott Burnotes, the associate vice president of campus safety, says the campus has ongoing safety measures in place for the wooded area, including regular patrols by university police and the removal of invasive plants and trees to make it easier to patrol.

The university community, as part of routine guidance, is told that the area is restricted, Burnotes said.

Police say the victim completed a forensic exam.

Anyone with information is asked to call 512-974-5095, Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS or use the new Crime Stoppers App. You can also submit tips by downloading APD’s mobile app, Austin PD, for free on iPhone and Android.

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