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Search area for missing inmate scaled down in size but not manpower

TDCJ officials say the hunt for Gonzalo Lopez is the largest in recent history for the agency.
Published: May. 15, 2022 at 2:44 PM CDT
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CENTERVILLE, Texas (KBTX) - The search for a missing inmate in Leon County has yielded no results over the weekend, but officials are ramping up efforts to find him.

“Today we have got numerous teams on horseback and well as canine patrols that are sweeping the area that we suspect he is still in,” said Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Robert Hurst.

On Sunday, officials tightened up the perimeter to put more focus on a triangle-size area west of Centerville where Gonzalo Lopez escaped from a prison transport bus last week.

“We suspect he’s still here, so today we’re focused on an area that runs from Center west along Highway 7, to up north on County Road 320 and then back east along CR 318,” said Hurst. “We have shrunk the search area down just a little bit, and it’s getting warmer out here. There’s little to no cloud cover overhead and it’s going to begin to get real uncomfortable for him out there.”

Numerous local, state, and federal agencies are assisting with the search, which Hurst described as one of the agency’s largest search operations in recent memory.

A $50,000 reward has been offered for Lopez’s capture and conviction.

Meanwhile, citizens in the area are being asked to remain vigilant and keep their homes secure.

Centerville ISD will return to class on Monday.

The following message was shared Sunday by the school district: “Because Centerville ISD campuses are located in a non-threat area away from the manhunt, we will have school on Monday, May 16th. We continue to remain in contact with the Law Enforcement officials and have put several precautionary safety measures in place for the students that ride Bus 14 which is the only bus that runs west of I45 and Hwy 7. Parents and students that live in this area are urged to continue following the directives of the Law Enforcement Officials and remain safe. All school activities will continue.”

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