Focus at Four: The Marshall Project investigates the case of escaped inmate Gonzalo Lopez

KBTX First News at Four(Recurring)
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 5:25 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Many continue to question how Gonzalo Lopez escaped from custody in Centerville, evaded law enforcement for weeks, and later murdered a family of five.

Lopez was ultimately killed in a shootout with law enforcement in South Texas, but investigations continue into his escape, his time on the run, and the people involved in the case.

Keri Blakinger, staff writer at the Marshall Project, wrote an article called How Texas Failed To Prevent One of the Nation’s Deadliest Prison Escapes detailing what she found out through her investigations.

She spoke about her findings on First News at Four Tuesday.

“There were only two officers on the bus that day instead of three, but something that I think did not really get discussed or had not been released at all, was the fact that the prisoners were not strip-searched that day and they were not given any sort of body scan or metal detector at all that day, so that’s how Lopez was able to get on the bus with two shanks and then after he hijacked the bus and crashed it, TDCJ guards that were on the bus were not able to correctly identify him as the escapee for more than an hour,” Blakinger said.

She says she hopes to learn more in the coming weeks.

“One of the things that is still unanswered is where exactly he got a handcuff key and it seems that he slipped out of his handcuffs,” Blakinger said. “He had some history of doing that, I understand, and then used some type of either stolen or handmade handcuff key to unlock the leg irons. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of clarity around those events. It’s also not clear what the back officer was doing. Obviously, the front officer was driving. The back officer, we don’t have a lot of clarity on why he didn’t see this and I think there might be some more things that come out not only in the coming investigations, but there’s the possibility of a lawsuit by the family, so we may get more information out of local law enforcement in the form of subpoenas.”

Blakinger’s full article can be found online.

KBTX has covered the case extensively. Previous coverage can be found below.