LEON COUNTY, Texas (FOX 44) – The search for escaped inmate Gonzalo Lopez continues for a 7th day. He is accused of taking over a transport bus and escaping.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice PIO, Robert Hurst, says the last time a search gas gone on this long was the statewide search for the Texas Seven, which went on for over a month.
Officials are still searching near Centerville until they find evidence he has left.
Melanie Tieperman and her son live on Highway 7, and they saw it all happen on their way home Thursday.
“To continue to remind yourself to lock the door every time you walk in and out…it’s very, very stressful,” Tieperman said.
She saw a bus in the ditch, a Jewett police officer in the middle of the road, and someone in a white suit who jumped the fence, ran up the hill and into the woods.
Hurst says before the inmates get on the bus, inmates are strip searched. How the attack was pulled off is still under investigation which will not include security camera footage from the bus since it was not equipped with cameras.
“They make sure that there’s not anything that would be something that they could use in an attack of any kind,” Hurst said. “That was done in his situation. Again, there’s an ongoing investigation to see what exactly happened, how this all went down. So that’s really all I can answer about that.”
Hurst emphasized how dangerous Lopez is. He says in 2004 he shot at a deputy in Webb County and killed a man with a pickaxe after kidnapping him and demanding a ransom that did not get paid.
“It’s very stressful to have to make an emergency plan with your children not knowing if he attempts to come into the home,” Tieperman said.
The community support for law enforcement and those involved is the reason why Tieperman lives there.
“He mentioned how good everyone is here, and these residents have taken care of his employees,” Tieperman siad. “And that’s why I live here. Those are the type people that you want to be around.”
The reward is $50,000 for any information leading to Lopez’s location.