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Armed runner stopped sex assault on trails

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Armed runner stopped sex assault on trails

Court paperwork filed Tuesday said an armed good Samaritan stopped an attack on a runner on a popular trail near Rainey Street last week.

Police have accused Richard Jordon McEachern, 22, of forcing a runner to the ground Friday and sexually assaulting her on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail near East Avenue and Cummings Street on Friday around 5:46 a.m.

Austin runners are on edge after a woman was attacked by a man while running around Lady Bird Lake last week. American-Statesman Staff

Police who responded to the incident found a woman on the trail with no shorts or shoes but being tended to by other runners. News of the attack had sparked fear and anger this week among Austin runners. 

McEachern was found Monday and booked the next day into the Travis County Jail and charged with felony sexual assault, which is punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. 

According to an arrest affidavit filed against McEachern, the woman told police she was headed east on the trail early Friday when she heard loud steps approaching behind her.

“The victim was grabbed behind by the suspect with both the suspect’s arms, (bear hug),” the affidavit said. “The victim said they fell to the ground and she was on her back and the suspect was on top of her.”

The document said the woman reported that the attacker put his hand over her mouth and kept saying “shh, it’s me baby, it’s me” as she struggled to scream and use a whistle she carried to call for help. 

As the assault continued, the man told the victim that he was a virgin, and this was his first time, according to the report.

Another jogger who was carrying a flashlight and a handgun heard the victim scream and ran over to help.

The affidavit said the jogger told police he shined his light in the direction of the screams and saw the victim on her back and the attacker on his left side on top of the victim.

The jogger pointed his gun at the suspect and demanded he get off the victim. The attacker stood up and was naked from the waist down, the affidavit said.

The woman got up and started walking to the jogger to get away from the attacker.

The affidavit said she did not know the jogger had a gun because she’d been blinded by his flashlight.

The attacker took off with the woman’s shoes and shorts when she walked in front of the jogger’s line of fire, the affidavit said.

Investigators found video of a possible suspect near the Mexican American Cultural Center at 600 River Street later in the day. Then on Monday, they found

McEachern sleeping just off the trail in the area of the attack. The affidavit said he was naked from the waist down.

Two people picked McEachern out of a photo lineup after he was taken into custody, police said.

Police have not said whether McEachern has been tied to any other attacks in the area, including another on a jogger at the Austin High School track on Aug. 22. 

During that attack, a man with a similar description grabbed a jogger from behind and tried to cover her mouth, according to police.

Read the complete article: TX | American Statesman

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