OAN Brooke Mallory
UPDATED 12:31 PM – Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Concerns about a potential serial killer on the loose have increased with the discovery of a fourth body since February in an Austin, Texas lake.
John Christopher Hays-Clark, 30, was pronounced dead at the scene at Lady Bird Lake in Austin, according to authorities. This is the seventh body to have been discovered in the area of the state’s capital city within the last 10 months.
The number of fatalities discovered so close in vicinity has raised suspicion among many Austin residents, as well as private investigators and online sleuths, particularly given the distance between the Rainey Street bar strip and the waterfront itself.
Despite online rumors and speculation, Austin police claim that they have not observed any proof of foul play yet in the lengthy cluster of fatalities.
“I realize that there is a rampant rumor about a potential serial killer here in Austin,” Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon told the press. “We’ve found no evidence of that.”
“Nothing has come to light that would indicate that there is a serial killer in Austin,” the chief maintained.
“While the investigation is still in the early stages, we do not suspect foul play was involved based on the information we have at this time… The investigation remains ongoing, and we have no further information to provide,” authorities said.
Over the weekend, there was a noticeable police presence on Rainey Street. The waterfront’s trails had new lighting fixtures, and there were more park rangers patrolling the area, according to city officials who have started discussing new measures to make the area safer. Additionally, high temporary fencing has been put in place as well.
On April 15th, at 1:20 p.m., the most recent victim was discovered unconscious in the lake’s waters.
Police still maintain that none of the Lady Bird Lake fatalities are “suspicious.”
“While each incident has occurred at the lake, the circumstances, exact locations, and demographics surrounding these cases vary,” officials said.
One week after going missing in the city, Jason John, 30, was discovered dead in the lake in February. On March 5th, another man named Clifton Axtell, 40, was discovered on the opposite riverbank.
Jonathan Honey, 33, was last seen socializing by a food truck on Rainey Street, which has a number of well-known clubs and restaurants close to the water. His body was later discovered in the lake on April 1st.
Alleged rumors of “roofie attacks” allegedly aimed at bar-goers on Rainey Street have contributed to fears of a serial killer.
According to one patron at a nearby restaurant, “Rainey Street is Roofie City.” Spiked drinks have long been used to render people helpless, so they can be robbed by unsuspected criminals after they leave the bar.
“One common theme of the drownings in Austin this year is the combination of alcohol and easy access to Lady Bird Lake, which has numerous access points… Many of the access points can be challenging to see at night,” Austin police added.
Despite the fact that autopsy results have not been made public, investigators claim that none of the victims displayed any apparent signs of trauma.
Rife online speculation regarding the incidents has ignited interest among community members and locals. Since its creation in February, the Lady Bird Lake Serial Killer/ Rainey St Killer Facebook group has grown to have over 70,000 followers.
The “Servant Girl Annihilator,” who is thought to have killed eight women between December 1884 and December 1885, was Austin’s only prior serial killer. However, the killer escaped capture and was never found.
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