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APD: Esme Barrera Murder Case Closed
Austin police say they've closed their investigation into the murder of Esme Barrera on New Year's Day.
Barrera was found murdered in her Central Austin home on the 3100 block of King Street around 2:46 a.m. James Loren Brown Jr. has been the prime suspect in the case since his body was found in his apartment nearby. He committed suicide weeks after Barrera’s murder.
Now, APD says their closing their investigation, saying they’re confident that Brown committed the crime.
The investigation took eight months. Because there was no DNA evidence found at the scene, police used circumstantial evidence found nearby and in Brown’s apartment.
Investigators tell us they matched a bloody footprint outside of Barrera’s home to one of Brown’s shoes he had bought two years prior. They also found a composite sketch from the initial investigation inside his home.
He lived about a quarter mile from Barrera’s house.
“If Mr. Brown would have been alive it would have showed probable cause to seek an indictment and there is a confidence that they would have secured a conviction,” said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo.
Police linked Brown’s DNA to two other attacks that occurred New Year’s Day before and after Barrera’s murder. Police know this serial predator was involved in four previously unsolved assaults or sexual assaults of women in south Austin in the summer of 2011.
Brown had been in Austin for at least 18 months and had worked at the IHOP near Lady Bird Lake. Before that he had been discharged from the Navy.
Investigators traveled to Barrera’s parents’ home in El Paso to deliver the information that their daughter’s case had been solved.
By Christie Post