AUSTIN (KXAN) - Neighbors who live near King Street, where a woman, Esme Barrerra, 29, was killed New Year's Eve, are very concerned that the suspect is still on the loose. They're posting flyers in hopes of warning others.
"I don't think the word is out yet for some reason, and a lot of kids are coming back to school. And I want everyone to know that they shouldn't walk around in this neighborhood, Washington Square neighborhood alone," said Kitty Murray.
Murray has lived in the area for more than 20 years, and this is the first time she's ever heard of anything like this happening in the area.
"Once I heard that, I started to get really concerned that this was some sort of psychopath on the loose," she said.
She joined nearly two dozen others in the neighborhood, putting up more than 100 fliers on telephone poles throughout the area just north of The University of Texas campus. The fliers had a picture and description of the suspect, along with information about the crime, which also included the assaults of two other women near the same spot at nearly the same time very early New Year's Day.
"I'm really concerned because the night that this happened I did take a walk through the neighborhood with another friend and we saw several women walking and jogging that night," she said.
"It's really scary, because this is a nice, quiet neighborhood," said Jessica Hatchett, who lives across the street from where the homicide took place.
"I'm setting my alarm all the time, even when I'm in the house. And carrying around mace around everywhere outside. I'm actually haiving my neighbor go with me to walk my dog at night because there's no lights here on this street," she said.
Jessica Hatchett's birthday is this weekend, but her mother came into town a few days early after hearing news about the homicide.
"We were planning to come in Friday, but I decided to come on today. Just for security purposes," said Jessica's mother, Jennifer Hatchett.
Some who live near 31st and Speedway streets, where the other assault took place two hours after the murder, are still learning about the crime in that area.
"It concerns me a lot. Especially, I thought that this was a safer area. I thought the crime here was mainly just like breaking into cars, I didn't know it was anything violent," said Emily Arnold.
While many residents have started to lock up their own property tighter, some gated apartment complexes near 31st and Speedway streets still had their iron gates left wide open Tuesday afternoon, for anybody to enter.
"I love this area. It's so close to so many different things. Other than this, we really haven't had any problems," Arnold said.
About 30 minutes before police found Barrera's body, another woman walking in the 3100 block of King Street said she was walking and felt someone following her. The man, whose description was used in the police sketch, ran away when the woman screamed. The alleged victim spoke to KXAN News on Sunday, but did not want to share her name.
"Suddenly he was behind me, he grabbed me, wrestled me to the ground and hit my head against the ground," the woman said.
Austin police also said a third woman was attacked in her home two hours after the Barrera killing. The woman awoke around 5 a.m. to a man attacking her. She did not get a good look at him before he ran away.
According to several social media sites, Barrera was an El Paso native and active in the Austin music scene. She worked part-time at Waterloo Records, where employees and friends were grieving her death on Monday.
Barrera was also a teacher's assistant at Casis Elementary where she worked with special needs children for the last five years.
"I am just shocked beyond words," said friend Heidi Knape, who worked with Barrera at Casis. "She was just the most energetic, fun girl that would help anyone out on campus."
She was also volunteer for Girls Rock Austin, a camp for young female musicians.
"Esme's infectious smile, her kindness, and her incredible sense of boundless encouragement touched us all," the organization said in a statement.
"She embodied all of the values of the girls rock movement. We all knew that she rocked, and when she said `You rock!' to any of the campers, volunteers, or anyone in our community, you believed it because she believed it. "
The group called Musicians for Equal Opportunity for Women also posted a tribute to Barrera on its website.
A friend of Barrera's, who asked not to be identified, said the woman had celebrated New Year's at the 29th Street Ballroom, a few blocks from her home
The ballroom is just two blocks away. It is unclear if she ended up walking home alone.
A blog has been set up for friends who want to help defray her family's expenses.
More than 100 trees covered in lights now shine bright throughout Zilker Park. The Trail of Lights is open for another season.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside of a vehicle which lost control during the icy conditions, DPS said.
Travis County non-profit Center for Child Protection will benefit next March from an all day fundraiser at the Circuit of the Americas that will see plenty of donors racing on the track.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg heads to court this week as a defendant in a civil trial that could oust her from office.
Santa visited Austin early on Sunday, joining hundreds of motorcyclists for their annual Toy Run.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.