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Escaped Inmate Still on the Loose


By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – The hunt for escaped inmate Gonzalo Artemio Lopez has now entered the eighth day and the reward for information leading to his capture stands at $50,000*.   

According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), “On May 12, the 46-year-old inmate who was serving a life sentence for capital murder and attempted capital murder assaulted a correctional officer on a transport bus and then fled from the vehicle. TDCJ, Office of Inspector General, DPS, and multiple law enforcement agencies are continuing the search for Lopez.”

Lopez is approximately 6’0” feet tall and 190 lbs. He was last seen wearing white clothing in a wooded area off of Highway 7 in Leon County.

“We will not rest until Lopez is caught,” TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier said. “I want to personally thank all of the agencies who are assisting in this massive search and those agencies that are contributing to the reward. Should you have information on his whereabouts, please contact the Crime Stoppers tip line.”

Over the weekend, Houston County Sheriff Randy Hargrove released a statement which read, “I spoke with Leon County Sheriff Kevin Ellis at about 12:30 today (may 14) and at that time TDCJ inmate Gonzalo Lopez had not been captured. There are several hundred law enforcement personnel on the ground in that area plus air support.  There is no reason to believe that Lopez would be in or come to Houston County but we should remain watchful and keep security in mind concerning our homes and vehicles. If you think you may have seen Lopez, please contact my office at 936-544-2862. Do NOT approach him as he is considered armed and dangerous. If my office receives any public information, I will share it with you asap.”

Houston County is bordered by Leon County to the west.  

In an article written by Danielle Wallace, with Fox Digital News, she reported “Lopez, who officials say has ties to the Mexican Mafia, managed to get free from of his handcuffs and cut through a caged metal door to the armed driver, stabbing him in the chest and a hand. He briefly gained control of the vehicle until another guard used a shotgun to shoot out the back tires. The bus crashed, and Lopez fled on foot. He was convicted in the 2005 murder of José Guadalupe Ramirez, who Lopez held for ransom and allegedly later killed on orders from the Mexican cartel. Lopez also shot and wounded a Webb County deputy in 2004 during a car chase. It was further reported he evaded arrest following the chase with assistance from a cartel associate.”

Those with information on the suspect should call TDCJ OIG Crime Stoppers at 1-800-832-8477 or 936-437-5171.

*Texas Department of Public Safety offering a $35,000 reward, U.S. Marshals are offering a $10,000 reward, and the TDCJ OIG is offering a $5,000 reward.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.

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