Lawmaker believes Gonzalo Lopez had help from other inmates, used prison-made tools to escape

Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 7:56 PM CDT
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CENTERVILLE, Texas (KBTX) - As many continue to question how Gonzalo Lopez escaped nearly a month ago and later murder a family of five, State Senator John Whitmire, chairman of the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee, revealed how he thinks Lopez escaped.

Whitmire appeared on an episode of Behind Breaking Bond and said he believes Lopez had help from the other inmates on the bus Lopez escaped. He believes Lopez was able to escape his restraints and bus gait with a key and prison-made tools.

For more on Whitmire’s take on the incident, click here.

Law enforcement agencies have had a steady presence at the Centerville home the grandfather and his grandsons spent their final moments.

Autopsy reports showed that Mark Allen Collins; 66, Waylon Collins; 18, Carson Collins; 16, Bryson Collins; 11, and Hudson Collins; 11 died after being shot and stabbed to death. Officials continue to believe they were murdered by Gonzalo Lopez.

Despite officials not releasing new information Thursday, residents along Highway 7 and others in the community have a lot of questions.

Susan Pettey Donnell lives along Highway 7 and said she shakes every time she drives past the Collins’ home. She said she never expected anything like this to happen when she moved to Centerville four years ago.

“I moved here to the country to try to get away from all the crime and stuff in the city, and then this happened four miles from where I live, so it was very unnerving,” Pettey Donnell said.

As she constantly keeps the Collins family in their thoughts, she questions why they were able to visit their home last week when Lopez was still on the run.

“Why were he and his kids allowed to just go in there without any type of escort or anything,” Pettey Donnell said.

Jewett resident Kathryn Harvey believes the incident could’ve been avoided with more communication and surveillance from officials. She lives less than five miles away from the Collins’ home and said her questions start from the beginning. Harvey wants to know how Lopez was able to escape the TDCJ bus nearly a month ago.

“They definitely need to look at how they’re transporting their prisoners cause obviously it’s not working the way that they’re doing it,” Harvey said.

As they wait for concrete answers from officials continues, Pettey Donnell and Harvey said they’re praying for peace for the Collins family and Centerville community.

“I hope that we’ll return to feeling safe like we used to,” Harvey said. “Even those of us who have alarm systems and cameras.”

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