Police: Suspect arrested linked to sex assault near Hike-and-Bike Trail

Austin police are investigating after witnesses report a man attacked a woman running on the hike and bike trail.

AUSTIN - Police said that they have arrested a suspect in link to a sexual assault at Hike-and-Bike Trail.

The APD announced Tuesday evening that  Richard McEachern, 22, was arrested and taken to the Travis County Jail with his bond set at $200,000. 

APD confirmed details about the assault in a post circulating on the Austin subreddit. The post states two people were running along the trail near the steel bathroom by Rainey Street around 5:30 a.m. Sept. 15 when they saw a man running the other way, “holding his pants up and holding a pair of shorts.” The two later found two other runners helping a woman who had been attacked and had her shorts taken. The post added the believed attacker “was easily 215-225 lbs and shirtless with lots of rolls showing. Police said they responded to the area of East Avenue and Cummings Street.

Police added the original suspect was described as a white or Hispanic man, 5-feet 10-inches to 6-feet tall, with shaggy short hair. He was last seen wearing blue jeans with no shirt and no shoes.

KVUE spoke with Matt Fletcher, who witnessed the man running away. Fletcher said he and his running partner thought the man’s actions were strange -- but they kept running until they came across a woman about 50 feet down the trail who had been attacked.

"She was kind of sobbing, crying a little bit, just in shock. She just could not believe that this would happen to her,” said Fletcher. "It's a horrifying thing to come across … One of the first thoughts my buddy and I had was what if this was my wife? How would I react, what would I be doing right now? I would be trying to find this guy.”

That is what Fletcher and his group tried to do – but the suspect was gone. Runners did call the police.

And in light of this attack – he and the Austin Runners Club, which he is a part of, are now more than ever stressing that runners do not run alone.

Fletcher said this attack was similar to an attack that happened at the Austin High School track on Aug. 22, but APD told KVUE “We do not believe it is related to the incident at Austin High or to any other sexual assault investigations based on what we know right now.”

Anyone with information on the assaults are asked to call APD at 512-974-5095 or CrimeStoppers at 512-472-TIPS (8477).

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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