Monday morning, Austin police pulled a car out of Lady Bird Lake, the same downtown stretch of water where the bodies of four men had been found this year. The vehicle was riddled with bullet holes, but no one was inside of it.
Police had been called to the scene at 2:30 a.m. due to reports of gunfire near the Festival Beach boat ramp and the southern end of Rainey Street, a strip of bars where the men had last been seen. The Austin Police Department informed reporters that they are currently investigating the incident and have no further information to provide.
After sunrise, a dive team was sent to retrieve the vehicle, but no one was found inside. Local officials have taken steps to make the waterfront safer, such as increasing presence and patrolling, adding lights to the trails, and installing temporary fencing. The Austin police have declared that there is no serial killer on the loose and that there is no evidence of foul play in any of the deaths, though investigations are ongoing.
The most recent victim has been identified as John Christopher Hays-Clark, 30, and was located near a dam about two miles downriver from the other bodies. The other victims are Jason John, 30; Clifton Axtell, 40; and Jonathan Honey, 33. It is estimated that as many as eight men have been found dead in similar circumstances stretching back to 2022.
Additionally, there have been reports of roofie attacks in the bar scene, and in New York City arrests were made due to robberies where victims were drugged and their phones were unlocked with facial recognition technology. In addition, the cases have been compared to potential “Smiley Face Killers” who may have been responsible for several drownings in Midwest in the late 1990s.
Lastly, police recently located the remains of Joel Derusha on the 500 block of Thompson Lane, about nine miles away from Rainey Street, and no evidence of foul play has been found.