A man, incapacitated by drugs and falling 25 feet from a bridge, narrowly avoiding drowning, suspects he might have been a target of the notorious ‘Rainey Street Ripper’.

Jeff Jones, 38, had embarked on a bachelor party excursion to Austin alongside a dozen friends from Boston on June 23rd of the previous year.

Regaining consciousness over two weeks later in a hospital, he discovered metal rods supporting his back, while medical tests revealed the presence of the date-rape drug GHB in his system.

Jones suspects that he was dosed with drugs before the assailant attempted to push him off the bridge spanning a stream, with the intention for him to drown and be swept away.

Jeff Jones (pictured in hospital with his sister Amy) after he plummeted 25ft off a bridge in Austin, and believes he could have been pushed by the 'Rainey Street ripper'
Jeff Jones (pictured in the hospital alongside his sister, Amy) following his fall from a 25-foot bridge in Austin, suspects he may have been forcibly propelled by the ‘Rainey Street Ripper’.

Concerns of a potential Texas serial killer roaming free have been rekindled after the recovery of two additional bodies from Lady Bird Lake in Austin.

“I just narrowly missed the mark, hitting the ground instead, and thankfully, that saved me from drowning,” he recounted to “I guess I just got lucky… Not many can say they’ve potentially survived a serial killer, so I have quite the story to tell.”

Local apprehensions of a potential serial killer lurking about have persisted for years, particularly as a dozen bodies have been retrieved from the Colorado River and Lady Bird Lake, adjacent to the bustling bar district. Two more bodies were discovered in the last month, both awaiting identification, yet similar to all but one of the others, deemed non-suspicious by law enforcement.

While authorities maintain there’s no active serial killer, rumors of a ‘Rainey Street Ripper’ persist as the body count mounts.

Jones and his companions started their evening with dinner at the Iron Cactus, then proceeded to the Rustic Tap and Play, both establishments located on West 6th Street. Around 1 am, he somehow became separated from the group, with no recollection of events prior to that.

Standing at 6 feet 3 inches and accustomed to alcohol, Jones clarified he wasn’t drinking heavily that night, given the weekend-long nature of the trip. His last communication with friends was around 1:30 am, following which he ceased responding to messages and his phone went dead.

An anonymous 911 call was placed around 4 am after he was spotted lying motionless at the base of the historic West Sixth Street Bridge.

Jones wasn't able to leave hospital for 17 days while his older sister Amy dropped everything to fly in and stay by his bedside, then took him to her home in New Hampshire to recover
For 17 days, Jones remained hospitalized, unable to leave, while his older sister Amy rushed to his side, putting her own life on hold to stay by his bedside. She then transported him to her residence in New Hampshire, where he could focus on recuperation.
Urine tests conducted at 6.59am, three hours after he was found, were positive for Benzodiazepine - a sedative family that includes GHB

Urine tests performed at 6:59 am, three hours after his discovery, revealed the presence of Benzodiazepine—a sedative group that encompasses GHB.

Spanning over Shoal Creek, which converges with the Colorado River, the bridge has been a site near where several bodies were recovered from the water in the past two years.

Jones was admitted to Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas around 4:45 am, undergoing emergency surgery to address injuries to his kidneys, liver, and lung. Additionally, his spleen was removed. He sustained fractures to seven thoracic vertebrae (third to seventh and 11th to 13th), as well as injuries to his shoulder, elbow, and two ribs.

With no recollection from the time he was out with friends until waking up from the second of two induced comas two weeks later, Jones expressed, “One minute I was at the bar, and then everything changed.” He further added, “I was in pretty rough shape. I had no idea what happened and what my body looked like, which was a mess—it was pretty shocking. Like many people in comas, I had very realistic dreams, and it took everyone a couple of days to convince me of what really happened. It was very confusing.”

Jones was found at the bottom of this bridge over Shoal Creek, which flows into the Colorado River near where several bodies were found. The bridge wide raised wall that makes it impossible to simply drunkenly wander off the edge

Jones was discovered at the base of the bridge spanning Shoal Creek, which feeds into the Colorado River, an area where multiple bodies have been recovered. The bridge features a wide raised wall, making it improbable for someone to accidentally stumble off the edge while intoxicated.

The metal rods and pins implanted along Jones' spine where he broke seven vertebraeHis his third to seventh and 11th to 13th vertebrae were broken when he hit the ground

Metal rods and pins were surgically inserted along Jones’ spine where he sustained fractures to seven vertebrae, spanning from the third to the seventh and from the 11th to the 13th.

Jones initially fell into a coma for a week during a series of surgeries but later contracted pneumonia, necessitating a second induction. He remained hospitalized for 17 days, during which his older sister, Amy, flew in and stayed by his side before taking him to her home in New Hampshire for recovery.

To this day, Jones remains clueless about the events that transpired during the three hours between his disappearance and being found beneath the bridge. The bridge itself is an ancient stone structure with a wide raised wall, rendering it improbable for someone to accidentally wander off its edge while intoxicated. However, Jones acknowledges the possibility that someone could have pushed him over.

He landed mere feet from the water, and given his state of being drugged with GHB, submersion in the stream would likely have been fatal. Reflecting on his narrow escape, Jones admits, “I’ve thought about it a lot… I couldn’t even talk about it for the first couple of months; it was just too terrifying how close I came to being gone. I would have been incapacitated enough to not get myself out of the water. If they wanted to get away with something without being seen, this would be a way to do it… it’s a good way to have no trace of what happened.”

Jones (right) on a ski trip with his brother earlier this year after mostly recovering from his injuries, though his elbow has limited mobility

Earlier this year, Jones (pictured on the right) embarked on a ski trip with his brother, having mostly recuperated from his injuries, although his elbow still experiences limited mobility.

Jones didn’t dismiss other possibilities, but considering the pattern of other men found deceased along the waterway after vanishing from nights out, coupled with the drugs discovered in his system, he leans towards the belief that he was attacked.

“The characteristics aligning with a serial killer case are quite specific,” he noted. “They include a particular type of victim, no personal belongings stolen, victims found drowned in water, and disappearances occurring during the night. I fit all these criteria; I just happened to escape death.”

Jones still relies on some pain medication but has resumed activities like running and other physical pursuits he enjoyed before his fall from the bridge. Scheduled for removal over the summer, the rods in his back leave extensive scarring across his upper body. However, the only lasting impact stems from a branch penetrating his left elbow during the incident. Despite surgical interventions to enhance its mobility, he can only extend it to 75 percent of its normal range and may never fully regain its former function.

Concerned about the impact of the serial killer speculation and the frequent appearance of bodies in the waterway, Jones urges the Austin police to take the matter more seriously to prevent deterring tourists, such as those on the bachelor party trip.

“If people continue to vanish, I fear it won’t remain a desirable destination for much longer,” he remarked.

Cliff Axtell, 40, was found in Lady Bird Lake on March 5 after he went missing near Stubb's in downtown on February 25. His death has been ruled 'undetermined'

Cliff Axtell, aged 40, was discovered in Lady Bird Lake on March 5, subsequent to his disappearance near Stubb’s in downtown on February 25. Authorities have classified his demise as ‘undetermined.’
Four bodies were found in Austin's Lady Bird Lake in 2023 including, 33-year-old Jonathan Honey (pictured) who was found dead on April 1

In 2023, four bodies were recovered from Austin’s Lady Bird Lake, among them 33-year-old Jonathan Honey (pictured), whose lifeless body was discovered on April 1st.

Jason John, 30, was found on February 13,2023 after he was last seen on Rainey Street a week earlier. His parents believe there is more to the story behind his disappearance

Jason John, aged 30, was located on February 13, 2023, subsequent to his last sighting on Rainey Street a week prior. His parents suspect there’s a deeper narrative surrounding his vanishing.

The most recent string of incidents began with the discovery of a body under the South 1st Street Bridge on April 9, initially described as a ‘cardiac-arrest’ style event. However, authorities are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the death.

Merely five days later, a fisherman reported another body near 515 S. Pleasant Valley Road. While not treated as a homicide, the incident is under scrutiny.

Law enforcement has ruled out foul play in several deaths linked to the reservoir, attributing them to likely accidental drownings due to the lake’s proximity to bustling nightlife areas. Among these cases is Ricky Parks, 59, whose body was found in July 2022, believed to have drowned.

Similarly, the deaths of Christopher Gutierrez, Kyle Thornton, 56, and Christopher Hays-Clark, 30, were not flagged as suspicious.

Jason John, 30, and Jonathan Honey, 33, both found drowned, were last seen on Rainey Street.

The death of dad Christopher Hays-Clark, 30, (pictured with son) was not deemed to be suspicious

The passing of father Christopher Hays-Clark, 30, (pictured with his son) was not considered suspicious.

Rainey Street is a vibrant area in Austin known for its night life and offerings of bars, food trucks and restaurants. Lady Bird Lake is about 1.8 miles, or 35-minute walk away from the street. There are no cameras around the lake

Rainey Street (pictured above) stands out in Austin for its lively nightlife scene, boasting an array of bars, food trucks, and restaurants. Approximately 1.8 miles away, or a 35-minute walk, lies Lady Bird Lake. Notably, there are no cameras installed around the lake.

Josue Moreno was shot while driving, causing his vehicle to plunge into the reservoir, according to police reports.

The demise of Clifton Axtell, aged 46, discovered in March 2023, was classified as ‘undetermined’. Authorities did not treat the remaining deaths as homicides.

Last year, the City of Austin implemented enhanced safety measures, including improved lighting and fencing around the lake. Additionally, discussions were underway regarding the potential deployment of park rangers and increased surveillance cameras in the vicinity.

Former Austin Police Department forensic director Mark Gillespie emphasized in an interview with KVUE that the public should trust the police’s assertion of no foul play. “They’re actively investigating for any signs of foul play. So when APD declares they’re not suspecting foul play at the moment, rest assured they thoroughly explored that avenue,” he stated.

A memorial left by near to where Chris Hays-Clark's body was found in Lady Bird Lake

A memorial placed near the spot where Chris Hays-Clark’s body was discovered in Lady Bird Lake.

Last year, the city of Austin announced that further safety measures including lighting and fencing around the lake

In the previous year, Austin authorities unveiled additional safety measures, such as enhancing lighting and installing fencing around the lake.

Lady Bird Lake is a popular Austin destination for water activities, including kayaking

Lady Bird Lake is a favored destination in Austin for various water activities, including kayaking.

In an interview with KXAN, Dr. Carsten Andresen from St. Edward’s University noted that the rumors surrounding the deaths at Lady Bird Lake echoed similar conspiracy theories circulating in cities nationwide.

“Human nature tends to search for patterns, whether real or imagined. Moreover, with the advent of social media, these rumors can spread rapidly,” he remarked.

Andresen highlighted Austin’s reputation as a city known for its vibrant nightlife and party culture. “While there’s no evidence to suggest the presence of a serial killer, it’s important to acknowledge that excessive drinking and risky behavior are not uncommon in Austin,” he emphasized.

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