Authorities said Gonzalo Lopez, a convicted killer who escaped custody last month, could be driving a truck taken from a home where five people were killed.
LEON COUNTY, Texas — The manhunt for Gonzalo Lopez took another turn on Thursday when Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials said they discovered five people dead in a Leon County home within the search area for the escaped convicted killer.
In a now-deleted Texas Department of Public Safety tweet, they said Lopez could be responsible for their deaths.
TDCJ said it will hold a news conference at 10 pm Thursday with more information.
TDCJ officials said someone called 911 after they weren’t able to get a hold of an elderly relative. Law enforcement authorities responded to the relative’s home and found two adults and three children dead. TDCJ authorities also said they believe Lopez might have taken a 1999 white Chevrolet single-cab truck (license plate: DPV4520) from the home where the victims were found dead.
Editor’s note: The videos attached to this article are from previous reports on the search for Lopez.
Lopez is a convicted killer who escaped police custody last month. On May 12, Lopez got away by shedding his shackles and cutting through a metal barrier before stabbing a correctional officer and getting away on foot after the prison transport bus he had taken over crashed.
RELATED: Search for Gonzalo Lopez | Largest concentrated manhunt in nearly 20 years continues in East Texas
The search to find the 46-year-old has been focused in Centerville, Texas, which is two hours north of Houston.
If you see Lopez, you should call 911 or local law enforcement immediately. He’s believed that he could be armed.
Photos of Lopez
After his escape, authorities released photos of Lopez that were taken by surveillance cameras shortly before he boarded the bus.
RELATED: New photos show inmate Gonzalo Lopez hours before escape
The US Marshals later released photos showing Lopez’s tattoos.
RELATED: US Marshals release photos of escaped inmate’s tattoos
Video taken from a passing car showed the moments shortly after Lopez escaped. In the distance, you can barely see what appears to be Lopez running through a pasture in his white prison uniform. A source told KHOU 11 News that officers found evidence left behind by Lopez shortly after the bus crashed.
TDCJ said it was the largest concentrated manhunt since 2004 or 2005.
RELATED: Update: Escaped inmate search in East Texas continues as new video emerges
Lopez was being transported from the Alfred Hughes Unit (outside of Gatesville in Central Texas) to a prison medical facility in Huntsville when he was able to get loose and stab the bus driver in the hand and chest. He drove off in the bus but didn’t get far after another guard shot out the bus’ back tires with a shotgun.
RELATED: TDCJ clarifies details on escape, search continues for Gonzalo Lopez
Authorities said it’s still unclear if anyone from the inside helped him get away and also said it’s unclear if the bus was being followed.
“There is no indication that there was anything of a suspicious nature from the time that bus left Gatesville until the time of the accident,” a TDCJ spokesman said.
Who is Lopez
Lopez is serving back-to-back life sentences for shooting at a Webb County, Texas sheriff’s deputy in 2004 and killing a man with a pickax in Hidalgo County after holding him ransom on a drug debt.
RELATED: This isn’t the first time escaped convict Gonzalo Lopez has successfully gotten away from law enforcement
It’s not the first time Lopez has managed to hide from law enforcement for an extended period of time. In 2004, he was able to run away from a police chase in South Texas and stayed hidden with the help of a cartel associate, he told investigators at the time.