The search for a Texas convict serving a life sentence for murder who fled from a transport bus after slashing the driver continued on Friday.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice issued on Friday night a $22,500 reward for information leading to the man’s arrest. The incentive was raised from $15,000 earlier in the day.
“U.S. Marshals are offering a $10,000 reward and the TDCJ is offering a $5,000 reward and the Texas DPS is offering $7,500 reward for a total of $22,500,” the TDCJ posted online.
Gonzalo Lopez, 46, eluded capture Thursday after overpowering the driver, whose wounds were not life-threatening, according to Jason Clark, chief of staff for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Lopez was convicted of murdering a man near the Texas-Mexico border in 2006.
Lopez eluded capture in Leon County, a rural area halfway between Dallas and Houston. As a safeguard, schools in the nearby Centerville Independent School District were canceled on Friday.
According to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, many agencies, including planes from the Texas Department of Public Safety, were participating in the search on Friday.
There were 16 detainees on the bus, but no one else escaped, according to Clark.
Leon County has approximately 16,000 persons and is located approximately 50 miles north of the state’s prison headquarters.
Lopez was most recently housed at a prison in Gatesville, more than 100 miles away from where officials were looking.
Other inmates in Texas have escaped transport vehicles in the past. One of the most recent occurred in 2019, when an MMA fighter suspected of murdering two people bolted from a van and became lost for 9 hours. He was eventually discovered hiding in a trash can, according to authorities.
Anyone with information about Lopez is asked to call TDCJ OIG Crime Stoppers at 1-800-832-8477 or 936-437-5171, or their local law enforcement at 911. You can also leave tips on this website: https://bit.ly/3L6Frwx