Esme Barrera homicide case closed

Esme Barrera homicide case closed

Credit: KVUE.com

James Brown, Jr.

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by KVUE.com

kvue.com

Posted on December 20, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 17 at 9:44 AM

AUSTIN -- The homicide case of a 29-year-old educator killed on New Year's Day has been closed.

Police tell KVUE that the Esmeralda "Esme" Barrera case was closed due to the "death of the offender."

James Loren Brown, Jr., 25, was the prime suspect in Barrera's death, who was found in her home on New Year's Day with "multiple sharp force injuries."

Brown died of asphyxia, according to the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office, after being found with a plastic bag over his head in his apartment in January. On Thursday APD announced that Brown was indeed Barrera's killer. 

He is suspected to have been involved in at least five attacks on other women in Austin. Homicide detectives say they found a bloody shoe print at the scene of Barrera's murder, which has been matched to Brown. Two other women were attacked in the same night as Barrera's death. One of those attacks involved DNA evidence linking Brown to the crime. Both of those cases have been closed by police.

The Travis County District Attorney's Office says if Brown were alive today, there is no doubt he would have been indicted for the death of Barrera.

Last April the Austin Police Department said, "There is no DNA evidence that either includes or excludes James Brown as a suspect in the Esme Barrera murder case; however, he remains a prime suspect. This is an active case where detectives are continuously investigating all avenues of uncovering evidence."

KVUE learned later that Brown, a Dallas native, spent five years in the Navy. When he was discharged in 2010 he moved to Austin and worked at IHOP.

Police say Brown had an anger problem directed toward women.

Barrera was a special ed assistant teacher at Casis Elementary.

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