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Another Body Found in Lady Bird Lake

Lady Bird Lake
Lady Bird Lake in Austin, TX | Image by Skylar Dawn/Shutterstock

Has the so-called “Lady Bird Lake Killer” struck again?

The Austin Police Department (APD) has launched an inquiry into the death of a woman whose body was recovered from Lady Bird Lake on Monday. Although the case has not been ruled a homicide, an autopsy and toxicology examination are being conducted.

The unidentified female was found in an area near Buford Tower on February 5. As previously reported by The Dallas Express, 30-year-old Christopher Hays-Clark — the last in a string of dead males found in Lady Bird Lake — was recovered near Longhorn Dam in April 2023.

However, APD ruled out the possibility of foul play in Hays-Clark’s death, as well as those of the other four men pulled from the lake within the span of nearly a year.

“While each incident has occurred at the lake, the circumstances, exact locations, and demographics surrounding these cases vary. Our investigators approach every case with an open mind and objectively examine all available evidence,” an APD statement read last April.

Either way, the recent body recovery stirred up feelings among the loved ones of those pulled from the lake, who are still hopeful for answers.

“[APD] are not trying to do anything, they just close the cases, and they just deem the death undetermined or a drowning, and then they just move on with no answers, nothing for the families,” said Reegan Aparicio, the mother of Hays-Clark’s child, upon the news of the most recent body recovery, according to Fox 7 Austin.

APD stressed the importance of abiding by park closure times last year, noting that many drownings occur at night.

“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,” the statement continued. “Many of the access points can be challenging to see at night.”

Yet there are still those who think the serial killer angle holds water or, at the very least, presents a worthwhile avenue of inquiry.

“I have a real problem with people just falling and drowning in these rivers and lakes,” said John Kelly,  psychotherapist and criminal profiler, according to Fox News Digital.

In Dallas, the murder rate grew by 15% between 2022 and 2023, according to the City’s crime analytics dashboard. Contributing in part to this rise has been a critical officer shortage within the Dallas Police Department, which has dampened efforts to fight crime. While DPD fields approximately 3,000 officers, a City report recommended some 4,000 officers to ensure public safety in a city the size of Dallas.

DPD will have just $654 million for operations this year after City leaders allocated considerably fewer tax dollars to police operations compared with other high-crime municipalities, such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

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