Austin police believe that a man who killed himself here in early January is a prime suspect in several unsolved assault cases against women, including the News Year’s Day murder of Esmerelda Barrera.
Authorities tonight outlined a trail of evidence linking 25-year-old James Loren Brown to one of the three assaults that occurred New Year's near 31st and King Street, and to assaults last summer in south and east Austin.
Police stress that the investigation is not finished, but they feel very confident in connecting Brown to three assaults on South Congress Avenue and South First Street last July, and a fourth assault near Comal and Haskell streets in East Austin in September.
Investigators used DNA evidence to link the July and September attacks to one of the three New Year's Day assaults, the one that occurred just hours after Barrera's murder.
Police are still trying to connect Brown to the New Year's Day murder of 29-year-old Barrera, and they stress the investigation isn't finished. However, officers feel confident the evidence in all seven cases is coming together
"We will continue to work diligently to identify who murdered Esmeralda and hopefully bring some closure to her family, her friends and those here in the community that have grown to know her and embrace her memory," APD Cmdr. Julie O’Brian said.
Brown’s body was found by his roommate, in his home in the 3000 block of Guadalupe, on Jan. 12, and investigators say he’d been dead at least a week.
Police said Brown had served in the military, but could offer no details of that service. They also said he was working at the time of his death at a business near Lady Bird Lake.
Police said Brown had no criminal record beyond traffic citations.
Anyone who had contact with Brown on New Year’s Eve or during the early part of January 2012 is asked to call APD’s homicide tip line at (512) 477-3588.