Updated 01/03/2012 08:37 AM
Teacher, musician inspired people from all walks of life
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Friends say 29-year-old Esme Barrera found the positive in everything, and where there was music, you’d almost always find her.
Friends identified her as the victim of Austin's first homicide of 2012. They say Barrera was killed at her home after returning from a New Year's Eve party. Police responded to the King Street home just after 3 a.m. Sunday and found Barrera's body.
Barrera was active in the local music scene and was a counselor at Girls Rock Camp. The camp encourages girls and young women to follow their passion for music.
Her support helped bands like Schmillion take off. Bassist Cecil Blackwood Cross said Barrera made her want to be a better person.
"She was always extremely enthusiastic about everything. She always encouraged all the girls to do what they wanted and do what they thought was right," she said.
Blackwood said she'd frequently look out in the audience at gigs around town and find Barrera in the front row enjoying the music.
Beyond being a camp counselor, Barrera worked at Waterloo Records. Friends said customers counted on her for honest advice about music picks and upcoming concerts.
Teaching was her other passion in life.
Many of Barrera's co-workers from Casis Elementary brought flowers and candles to lay at the gate of her home Monday. One student created a card saying, "Miss Esme, I miss you."
"She didn't stress about things. She could have to be one classroom, and 30 or five minutes later have to be across the campus, and she would be there with a great attitude and be very helpful with teachers, parents and students," Barrera's Friend Larry Chauvin said.
Barrera was a teaching assistant for students with special needs. Fellow teacher Larry Chauvin said Barrera was also in college, finishing her degree in education. He said her inspirational spirit will still be alive at Casis Elementary even though she will not be.
"My resolutions are to live like Esme did and be happy, really outgoing and treat every day like it's your last," he said.
Police have not said how Barrera was killed. No arrests have been made so far, but police urge anyone who saw Barrera on New Year's Eve night or during the early morning hours of New Years to contact police at (512) 477-3588.