Woman fights off attacker on Lady Bird Lake trail

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A woman jogging on the Lady Bird Lake hike and bike trail Wednesday morning was attacked by a man who tried to drag her into the bushes.

Police said the woman, who was attacked around 6:40 a.m. in the 1700 block of South Lakeshore Boulevard, near East Riverside Drive, was grabbed from behind and was able to fight off the attacker.

The suspect was described by police in a Wednesday afternoon press conference as a Hispanic male in his 40s, 5-foot-11, with no facial hair, dark complected and was described as having a greasy sheen to his face.

Interim Chief of Police Brian Manley said the suspect spoke Spanish to the woman and has not been found.

He was last seen wearing baggy shorts, a hoodie and tennis shoes.

In response to Wednesday morning’s attack, and two recent attacks near and on the Lady Bird Lake trail, the Austin Police Department will be sending officers onto the trail in the early mornings, starting around 4 a.m., to clear the trails and look for any suspicious people. They will be on foot, bicycle and mounted patrol.

“Make sure that people have that sense of security that they should have — enjoying everything that Austin has to offer and one of them being the crown jewel — the hike and bike trail on Lady Bird Lake,” explained Chief Manley.

On Aug. 22, a woman was jogging on the Austin High School track around 5 a.m., at 2100 Stephen F. Austin Dr. — also near the Lady Bird Lake trail — when a man came from behind and grabbed her, trying to put a cloth over her face.

Police are still trying to identify the suspect in the Austin High School case. He is described as a white male in his mid 40s, 6-foot-2, medium build, 215 pounds, with broad shoulders, tan skin and unkempt medium-length, brown hair.

He was seen leaving in an older model small car that was dark green or blue with a white stripe on the passenger side.

A sexual assault of a woman on the trail on Sept. 15 around 5:45 a.m. happened near Rainey Street. The woman was running when she was grabbed by a man and taken to the ground. Other runners, including an armed good Samaritan, came to the woman’s aid and the suspect ran away.

On Sept. 18, a suspect, named by police as 22-year-old Richard McEachern, was arrested. Police found him sleeping near the trail naked from the waist down.

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