AUSTIN (KXAN) — People in Austin are questioning a series of deaths in lake waters in Austin.

Online reports have been swirling in recent weeks about a possible connection between the deaths in Lady Bird Lake.

This report aims to provide KXAN viewers with full transparency and facts.

As of now, there is no strong connection to the deaths, according to Austin Police. “There are a lot of allegations that there’s a serial killer, but there’s no proof or evidence in any of our investigations to sustain that,” APD Assistant Chief Jeff Greenwalt told KXAN in April.

APD said the “circumstances, exact locations and demographics surrounding these cases vary.”

“One common theme of the drownings in Austin this year is the combination of alcohol and easy access to Lady Bird Lake,” the department continued.

Deaths in Lady Bird Lake

So far this year, there have been at least four bodies that were found in Lady Bird Lake. Last year, there were also a number of reported bodies pulled from the lake. KXAN has requested the number of times Austin Police has investigated a body recovery from Lady Bird Lake in the past five years.

KXAN is keeping track of the number of bodies in Lady Bird Lake in Austin.

Date RecoveredVictimBody FoundPreliminary Findings
April 15, 2023Christopher Hays-ClarkNear 2700 block of Canterbury StreetAPD: “No foul play or suspicious circumstances are involved
April 1, 2023Jonathan HoneyNear 10 Rainey St.APD: Still under investigation
March 5, 2023Clifton AxtellNear 1100 W. Riverside DriveAPD: “Not suspicious at the time”
Feb. 13, 2023Jason John Near 30 East AvenueFamily: “There was no visible scarring or scratches on his body, so we won’t know 100 percent until the autopsy is done – but we don’t believe he was attacked.”
Dec. 28, 2022Near the Congress Avenue bridgeNo preliminary findings reported
Dec. 25, 2022Near the pedestrian bridge that runs alongside South LamarAPD: Too early to identify the person or determine what caused their death.
Dec. 19, 2022Josue MorenoNear 1100 block of W. Riverside DriveShooting/Crash.
Man charged with murder
Dec. 10, 2022Near South Pleasant Valley Road and South Lakeshore Boulevard“The cause of death has not yet been determined,” APD said at the time.
July 14, 2022Near 9 East Ave.APD: The body could have been in the lake for “a couple days.”

KXAN has asked Austin Police to help us identify the bodies recovered in 2022 and look for any that we might have missed.

Autopsy Reports

We have also requested autopsy reports from the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office (TCME) for all the people found in Lady Bird Lake this year. Those reports take up to 120 days to be released.

Not all bodies brought to Medical Examiner’s Office for examination are autopsied. “The Medical Examiner may choose to either perform a complete autopsy or to perform an external examination only. Partial autopsies are not performed at TCME,” according to the office’s annual report.

If the bodies are not autopsied, the office does try to identify bodies taken in for examination. In 2022, only two bodies remain unidentified according to its latest report.

Doctor Alan Rampy, a courtesy associate professor of diagnostic medicine with UT Austin’s Dell Medical School, isn’t working any of these investigations – but offered third-party perspective on the timeline behind generating autopsy reports.

“Once you get your samples you often have to send out for outside analysis… so there are a lot of moving parts,” he said. “If a body has been in water for some period of time, it does essentially make the entire process a little more challenging because being in the water does a lot of things to the skin and other parts of the body.”

As the investigations continue, KXAN will continue to update reporting.