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Police investigate woman’s death as a homicide

Police are investigating the death of a woman who was found Monday at a North Austin homeless camp as a homicide.

A group of homeless people called 911 about 1:49 a.m. after they saw Tasha Morrison, 27, lying next to a couch in the field at the 8800 block of Interstate 35, next to the Avesta Solano apartments and just south of Rundberg Lane, police said.

Morrison was unresponsive when officers arrived. Medics began life-saving measures but their efforts were unsuccessful, said Sgt. Brian Miller with Austin police’s homicide unit. Morrison was pronounced dead shortly after 2 a.m.

Police initially described Morrison’s death as suspicious. On Tuesday, an autopsy performed by the Travis County medical examiner’s office ruled her death as a homicide.

Morrison’s body had apparent signs of trauma but police did not release more details about her injuries, pending further investigation.

Police said they do not believe Morrison was living at the homeless camp.

Police said the North Austin homeless camp has been forced to break up. Authorities said the owner of the property had asked residents to move out of by Tuesday.

However, on Wednesday several tents remained on the undeveloped property. Elbert Porch, 34, has been staying at the camp about three months. He said the effort to remove them started before Morrison’s body was found several dozen yards from where about 12 people stay.

Another resident at the camp, Bridgette Fuller, 51, said Morrison had frequented the area for years. But Morrison never lived at that homeless camp, she said.

“She did not stay here, someone put her there,” Fuller said, gesturing toward the brown couch where Morrison’s body was found.

In 2012, Morrison and a man were charged with sexual assault of a child after a runaway teen girl said they forced her to perform oral sex in a North Austin motel just four miles north of the homeless camp, court records show.

The 15-year-old girl from Irving told police that shortly after meeting them, Morrison and the man took her to the Budget Inn at 9106 N. I-35 and forced her to perform oral sex, an affidavit says. The victim left the room and flagged the motel’s security officer. Morrison was arrested after she admitted what happened, the affidavit says.

Travis County Jail records show Morrison was convicted for reckless injury to a child, a state felony. She was sentenced to 15 months in jail in September 2013.

Morrison has been charged with six felonies since 2005, including a conviction of possession of cocaine on Dec. 16, court records show.

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