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Police seek witnesses in incident on Austin bike trail

By Roxana Orellana

rorellana@postbulletin.com

Police are still investigating an incident in which a 61-year-old Austin woman sustained two wounds to her neck.

M. Kay Smaby was found on a paved biking and walking trail in southeast Austin on Tuesday evening after being reported missing. She is being treated at Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester, but no report on her condition is available.

Austin Police Chief Paul Philipp said today that investigators have not been able to take a statement from Smaby because of the treatment she is receiving for her injuries.

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That has delayed the investigation, he said.

In a news release issued today, police are asking anyone who might have seen Smaby in the area near the 500 block of Second Street Southeast to call the station at 437-9400.

"We would request that anyone who may have witnessed any suspicious or unusual activity in that same area also contact the department," the statement says.

Police believe Smaby left her house shortly before 3 p.m. Tuesday on her bike. Police received a report about 6:40 p.m. Tuesday about a missing woman. Within 20 minutes, she was found east of South Main Street, Philipp said. She was taken by ambulance to Austin Medical Center, Philipp said.

About 60 feet of the trail and adjacent riverbank along the Cedar River were roped off by police tape until Wednesday afternoon.

Philipp said today that no one has been arrested and police are not looking for any particular suspect. As to whether Smaby's injuries were self-inflicted or inflicted by someone else, Philipp said "at this point in time in our investigation we are looking at all the possibilities."

As for the community's safety concerns, Philipp said there is no reason people should be afraid to use the trails and parks.

"We have not had any previous reports of crimes, assaults or suspicious activity in the area of the bike path or our trails," Philipp said.

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Police have declined to give other details, saying that they didn't want to do anything to harm the investigation and that they "are guarding the integrity of this case."

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