Man found in Lady Bird Lake died of accidental drowning, autopsy shows

Editor’s Note: The video above shows KXAN Live’s top headlines for July 24, 2023

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man pulled from Lady Bird Lake near Rainey Street in April died of accidental drowning, according to an autopsy the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office released to KXAN Monday.

The autopsy says Jonathan Honey, 33, was drinking at a bar and then “left his friends to find food.” Honey was reported missing to the Austin Police Department on March 31, police previously said. His body was later recovered from Lady Bird Lake near 10 Rainey Street, KXAN reported.

Honey’s toxicology report showed there was alcohol in his system. He had drugs in his system consistent with over the counter or prescribed medications.

Deaths in Lady Bird Lake

Honey wasn’t the only person to be found dead in Lady Bird Lake this year, prompting calls for better lighting, fencing and more signage near the lake. It also caused some unfounded speculation about the deaths. As of June 30, at least five bodies have been found in Lady Bird Lake in 2023.

After Honey’s death, APD said in a statement some of the deaths at Lady Bird Lake remained under investigation, but the evidence didn’t support “allegations of foul play.”

APD said at the time 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.”

Earlier this year, the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) installed four sets of solar-powered lights and a fence on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail near Rainey Street.

There are additional permanent infrastructure plans for the project, which include new signage, a kiosk, and additional lighting.

Jason John autopsy results

The autopsy report for Jason John — the 30-year-old man who was found dead in Lady Bird Lake near Rainey Street at the beginning of the year — was also released to KXAN.

Missing man poster
Jason John (KXAN photo)

The Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office determined his cause of death for John was drowning and the manner of death was ruled accidental.

“According to reports, this 30-year-old man was witnessed by a transient bystander to be vomiting by the bank of Lady Bird Lake and then subsequently fall and submerge into the water in the early morning of February 5, 2023. After attempting to aid the decedent, the bystander went to a nearby hotel and contacted 911,” the report read.

The report said John had no significant internal or external injuries and that there were no fractures or traumatic injuries found.

John’s toxicology report showed alcohol was in his system but no illegal drugs were detected.

Martin Gutierrez autopsy report

KXAN has also previously reported on the death of a man in the same area in 2018. The Medical Examiner’s Office also determined Martin Gutierrez, 25, died by accidental drowning.

The autopsy also found that there was a bruise on the lower part of Gutierrez’s head, but no skull fracture or brain injuries, and swelling in his brain and chest cavities. 

The report stated that Gutierrez had his ID and his banking cards on him when he was found. It added that he was a proficient swimmer, with no history of seizure disorder and no history of illegal or prescription drug use. 

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