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Do You Know This Man?

Suspect in attack – and possibly murder – sought by police

By Jordan Smith, 10:33AM, Tue. Jan. 3, 2012

OPEN IMAGE GALLERY

Sketch of suspect wanted in connection with attack early on Jan. 1
Sketch of suspect wanted in connection with attack early on Jan. 1
Sketch of suspect wanted in connection with attack early on Jan. 1
Sketch by Austin Police Department

Austin Police on Monday released the sketch of a man wanted for questioning in connection with an attack on a woman early on Jan. 1 – an attack that may be related to the murder of Esme Barrera, who was found dead in her home just before 3am.

Barrera, 29 – who worked at Casis Elementary with special-needs children and served as a mentor at the Girls Rock Camp – was reportedly at the 29th Street Ballroom on New Year's Eve and left after midnight for home, a rented cottage in the 3100 block of King Street, roughly five blocks away. At 2:46am, police say they received a 911 call reporting that Barrera had been attacked. She was found dead in her home.

Police have not said how Barrera was killed and they do not have a suspect in custody, but are searching for a man (sketch at right) who was described by another woman who told police she was attacked by a 30- to 40-year-old black male just outside Barrera's rented home a mere half-hour before Barrera was found in her home. The two struggled and the man fled after the woman cried out for help. Moreover, another woman reported to police that she too was attacked just before 6am inside her home in the 300 block of 31st Street, roughly six blocks east of Barrera's home. The man injured the woman, police say, and then fled the home.

Whether the three incidents are connected is at present unclear, police say. Police are asking anyone who might recognize the man in the sketch to call police. Police are also asking anyone who may have seen Barrera on New Year's Eve or early on Jan. 1 to contact police on the homicide tip line at 512/477-3588.

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