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Registered sex offender dies during assault, officials said

June 14, 2011 at 1:14 a.m.

Isabel Gutierrez

TIVOLI - When something happens in the small coastal community of Tivoli, everyone knows about it.

And on Tuesday, residents still clamored about the death of Isabel Chavelo Gutierrez, the 53-year-old Tivoli man who died on June 2.

He was suspected of attempting to sexually assault a 77-year-old woman when he died.

Refugio County Sheriff Robert Bolcik said the assault victim said she had seen Gutierrez at the post office a day before the assault.

About 1 a.m. June 2, Gutierrez rode his bicycle a couple of miles to the woman's home, also in Tivoli. He then pried open a window and assaulted the woman with a knife, the sheriff said.

During the assault, he complained that he didn't feel well and then he rolled over and died, Bolcik said.

"We just assume it was a heart attack," Bolcik said.

Autopsy results from the Nueces County Medical Examiner's Office are not yet available.

Gutierrez was a registered sex offender and was released from prison in 2008, Bolcik said.

Gutierrez was convicted of indecency with a 7-year-old girl in 1982, according to Texas Department of Public Safety Public Sex Offender Registry.

Gutierrez is also the only registered sex offender in the town of about 800 people, according to the DPS records.

Sheriff's office Sgt. Gary Wright, who was at the scene the morning of the attack, said crimes like this don't happen often in the county, much less in a town like Tivoli.

"It's a pretty bizarre case," Wright said.

The workers at Dairy Queen agreed with Wright.

State Highway 35 cuts through Tivoli. The town is a quiet one and the main drag includes a convenience store, cafe and the Dairy Queen, where most residents socialize.

While community residents talked about the incident Tuesday, they did not want to go on the record with how they are dealing with it.

The 77-year-old woman is doing well, Bolcik said.

"She's a very strong woman," he said.

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