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'Do not go to Rainey Street alone' | Austinites pushing for change on popular trail after another body was recovered from lake

Jonathan Honey was pulled from Lady Bird Lake on April 1 after he was reported missing, according to Austin police.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Police Department (APD) said 33-year-old Jonathan Honey was found dead in Lady Bird Lake, near Rainey Street, on April 1 after he was reported missing on March 31. 

Honey was in town for a bachelor trip, according to Councilmember Zo Qadri (District 9).

This is the second incident in roughly a month where someone has disappeared, and somehow ended up in the lake. 

In February, Jason John drowned in Lady Bird Lake after a night out with friends. Qadri said John's best friend alerted him to Honey's disappearance, and he was connected to Honey's best friend's fiancée.

"[I] told her to, you know, 'Please reach out to us if we can be of any help.' Reached out to Assistant City Manager Bruce Mills and also reached out to Chief [Joseph] Chacon and just can't get any kind of get more information on the situation at the time they were looking for the gentleman who had gone missing," Qadri said.

Qadri has advocated for more safety measures along the popular trail since John's death.

Last month, the City installed solar-powered lighting and fences ahead of South by Southwest as a temporary fix as it plans for a more permanent solution. But with this latest incident, Qadri said he plans to have more conversations with Mayor Kirk Watson to see what more the City can do to maintain safety. 

"There is a part of me that hoped that we would never have to see anything like this. As unlikely as that would be because there's always a chance of something happening or someone loses their life ... but I just had this hope that this would be a thing of the past and for it to happen about six weeks after Jason's death – it's horrible," Qadri said.

Family members, aside from John's, who have lost a loved ones on the trail stated that they were not surprised another body was pulled from the lake.

Mitchell Gutierrez, who has been pushing for change from the City since his brother, Martin, died in 2018, said after John's death, he was grateful the City added the temporary lights and fences along the trail. But that wasn't the solution he was hoping for. 

"We had four lights, but it's still so dark out there. And I mean, point proven, I had said it to multiple times – eventually this was going to happen again, and it did," Gutierrez said. "What we needed was lighting and cameras. That's what we needed. That wasn't done."

Gutierrez said he has been sharing his story and spreading awareness through social media, and he plans to meet with City officials at their next meeting. 

"Power comes in numbers, so that's what we're trying to do," Gutierrez said. "If anyone's listening, just do not go to Rainey Street alone. Go in groups and just be safe."

The Travis County Medical Examiner's Office has not released a cause of death for Honey at this time.

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