1982 – January 1, 2012
Esme Barrera was an Austin, Texas music lover who became a familiar face throughout the city’s fabled music venues and just about anywhere music could be heard. Barrera worked with special needs students at a local elementary school, but still found time to work part-time at Austin’s venerable record store, Waterloo Records. She also volunteered as a counselor at a summer music camp known as Girls Rock Austin. After ringing in the New Year at a nearby club, Barrera reportedly walked home alone. At 2:45 am, her badly beaten body was discovered by a friend inside her home. She died of her injuries a short time later. Initial reports indicated that the incident may have been related to other attacks reported in the area that same day. A suspect was not immediately apprehended though composite sketches were distributed throughout the area. Barrera’s brutal death quickly spread throughout the indie rock world and condolences soon followed. Indiana singer Ted Leo tweeted “I was privileged to briefly know an inspirational person from Austin, Tx., who was murdered this NYE. Her name was Esme & she’ll be missed.” YACHT posted, “The world’s lost a shining light, music cheerleader, and great human. Our hearts go out to the friends and family of Esme Barrera. No words,” while Okkervil River tweeted info on how fans can contribute to cover funeral costs. Esme Barrera was 29 years old when she passed away. [UPDATE] In December of 2012, the Austin Police Department announced that the Esme Barrera case was officially closed due to the “death of the offender.” Police reportedly discovered the prime suspect dead of apparent self-asphyxiation in his own apartment a few weeks following Barrera’s death. The alleged perpetrator was found with a plastic bag over his head. He was also a suspect in at least five other similar attacks on women in the area.