The brutal murder of runner Lauren Bump: South Texas Crime Stories

‘We have been deeply touched by the many, many ways Lauren has been remembered and honored by the community’

The murder of Lauren Bump (Copyright 2022 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

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The Discovery

New Years’ Eve Day was coming to a quiet end for the Wagner family.

Edward and Sierra Wagner had just visited the children’s playground at O.P. Schnabel Park on the Northwest Side with their young son.

They were walking on a jogging trail back to their car when they came upon a scene out of a horror movie.

24-year-old Lauren Bump’s body was lying there.

Edward Wagner testified in court to what they saw.

“I was kind of in shock when I saw it because it didn’t seem real. She was just lying on the floor face down. I could actually see some blood, a lot of blood,” Edward said.

He called 911, Lauren had been stabbed more than 20 times along the trail.

Sierra Wagner testified that she examined Lauren’s body and was horrified by what she found.

“I couldn’t feel a pulse so I looked at her back to see if she was breathing and that’s when I noticed that her body was mutilated,” Sierra said.

About 45 minutes before the couple found Lauren, they passed by a man walking in the park that the couple described as “strange looking.” Sierra had even jokingly said that he “looked like a serial rapist.”

Three days later and then later on in court, the couple ID’d that man as Christian Bautista.

Bautista on trial

Bautista’s trial started with a warning from Judge Jefferson Moore.

Moore said during the competency hearing that Bautista exposed himself and was making lewd comments to the female prosecutor.

During the regular trial, Bautista was making grunting sounds as he was escorted into the courtroom by deputies. He stared at women and stuck his tongue out at a witness who had identified him.

Bautista’s own attorney said his client was creepy and had strange tendencies but stated it wasn’t illegal.

During his trial, Bautista’s roommate Ryan O’Shea testified. They shared a mobile home on the Northwest Side.

O’Shea said he had given Bautista an 8-inch combat knife just days before Lauren was killed.

“I asked him how the knife was doing. He said ‘I stuck some {expletive} and had to get rid of it.”

O’Shea initially dismissed the comment but he heard about Lauren’s death, he went to the police to tell them what Bautista had done.

Verdict and sentencing

After hearing from multiple witnesses, and testimony that Lauren’s blood was found on Bautista’s clothing, a jury found Bautista guilty of her murder.

Lauren’s family wept at the guilty verdict, and her brother Ryan spoke about what this meant to their family.

“He tried to take something very great from this world, and although in the physical sense Lauren is no longer with us, we have no doubt she felt and feels no pain. She’s completely happy. She was with us here today as justice was served, and he is an evil person and evil never wins,” Ryan Bump said.

Bautista had no reaction at all.

During the sentencing phase of the trial, it was revealed that Bautista has Mexican Mafia ties, and he had been arrested multiple times, nearly every year since he was 19.

He was 31 when he was sentenced for Lauren’s death.

He was sentenced to life in prison and will be eligible for parole after serving 30 years.

Bautista was also fined $10,000 for his actions during the trial.

Lauren’s family read a statement at the sentencing:

Today’s verdict brings a close to this chapter of the long journey of trying to build a life without our dear Lauren. No verdict or punishment could possibly come close to replacing our loss. We will continue to focus on celebrating how awesome our Lauren was and how she walked so close to God, showing His love to all. No evil act can quiet God’s love. This is why her life touched so many, and continues to, and why she will never be forgotten.

Bump Family

Remembering Lauren

In the year after Lauren’s murder, her friends, family, and members of the community gathered to celebrate her life at O.P. Schnabel park. They released balloons and did a silent 1 mile run for her.

Family members said they also had T-shirts made to benefit Lauren’s memorial foundation, which helps provide missionary medical groups in Guatemala.

“It’s a way that we can still share her life and her love for everybody and the love that she had for everybody. And I think it’s just a way for us to continue to have her life lived because she is still here with us. So it’s not like she’s really gone.” Gabriella Jimenez, Lauren’s best friend said.

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About the Authors:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.