AUSTIN (KXAN) - Police Chief Art Acevedo told a crowd of more than 100 concerned citizens Monday night that the Austin Police Department is committed to finding Esme Barrera's killer and that it wants people who live in the area to be vigilant about safety.
Barrera, 29, was killed in the King Street home she rented in Central Austin on New Year's Day. Two other women were attacked in the area on the same day. Still, Austin police will not say all of the attacks are connected because there is no known witness to Barrera's killing.
Police have released a sketch of the man who may be responsible for the attack on a woman near Barrera's home 30 minutes before her murder was reported, but they have no evidence he was involved in the killing.
"It is a very tragic situation and it is something we're taking very seriously. And I can tell you we're not going to rest until we catch somebody," Acevedo told the crowd at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Heritage Neighborhood Association.
Police have stepped up patrols in the area and are going door to door to talk to people about safety.
"I am comforted by the police presence, and I have lived in the neighborhood since I moved in in 1977," said Neighborhood Association President Paula Brown. "I have raised a family there. I love this area and this neighborhood."
Acevedo answered some tough questions from the crowd about police response to the crimes. Some people wanted to know why tracking dogs and a search helicopter were not used to search the area for the attacker.
A police commander said the department is reviewing policies and procedures.
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