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APD makes arrest in sexual assault at Odom Elementary

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Austin police have arrested a man they say sexually assaulted a 56-year-old woman in South Austin earlier this month.

Officers arrested 51-year-old John Baldwin after DNA evidence from the assault matched Baldwin's DNA in a Texas Department of Public Safety evidence system.

Police say Baldwin attacked the victim in the 1000 block of Sahara Avenue in the early morning hours of Aug 14. The victim was walking past Baldwin when he grabbed her, pulled her onto the nearby Odom Elementary school grounds and sexually assaulted her before fleeing on foot.

After APD received his name through the DNA hit, they were able to locate Baldwin, who also had an outstanding warrant for a burglary charge. Officers found him at a South Austin convenience store after searching for just 15 minutes.

During a press conference Monday, Lt. Eveleth with APD said Baldwin, who is originally from New Mexico, lived a transient lifestyle, had a history with drugs and was a longtime “menace” to the South Austin neighborhood.

He has an extensive criminal history, with 41 arrests and 28 convictions. Many of those crimes are burglaries of non-residences, like businesses and vehicles.

Baldwin is currently in Travis County Jail. He’s been charged with sexual assault, a second-degree felony.

Lt. Eveleth said Baldwin’s speedy arrest is owed to the efficient work of the Austin Police Department’s DNA detectives and crime lab, as well as officials with Texas DPS.

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