Case Still Open, Brown Still 'Prime Suspect'
APD still investigating Esme Barrera's murder
By Jordan Smith, 9:56AM, Fri. Apr. 6, 2012
Although no DNA evidence links James Loren Brown to the murder early on New Year's Day of Esme Barrera inside her rented cottage near the UT campus, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo says that Brown remains the prime suspect in her slaying.
The case against 25-year-old Brown, who committed suicide in January by covering his head with a plastic bag and restraining his hands, suffocating himself, is based on strong circumstantial evidence, says Acevedo, and the department will continue to work the case until police are confident that they can prove to "Esme's family, beyond reasonable doubt" that it was Brown who killed her, Acevedo said.
Acevedo said that Brown has already been linked to five previous assaults of women and has been tied, through witness statements, to two additional attacks, including of a woman walking near Barrera's King Street cottage less than an hour before Barrera, 29, was killed. "When you put it all together, looking at phone records and [considering] interviews with family members, friends, acquaintances and co-workers, the body of evidence points to Mr. Brown as the prime suspect."
Barrera was a well-liked fixture of the Austin music scene who worked with kids with special needs at Casis Elementary School and was studying for her teaching certificate. For more on Barrera see, "Excited About Life," Jan. 13.