Rewards Offered To Find Prison Escapee & Visitation Is Suspended At 43 TDCJ Units

Screen shots from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (L) Twitter account and (R) Facebook page.
Screen shots from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (L) Twitter account and (R) Facebook page.

As the search continues for a state prison escapee in Leon County, the state prison system (TDCJ) has suspended visitation at 43 units until further notice. Social media from the department of criminal justice told those planning visits to contact the specific unit prior to traveling.

TDCJ has also announced rewards totaling $50,000 dollars for information leading to the capture of Gonzalo Lopez. Anyone with information is asked to contact TDCJ OIG CRIME STOPPERS at 1-800-832-8477 or 936-437-5171 or your local law enforcement agency at 911. You can also leave a tip via the website at https://www.p3tips.com/TipForm.aspx?ID=911#English.

TDCJ has a $5,000 reward, U.S. Marshals have a $10,000 reward, and the Texas department of public safety (DPS) has a $35,000 dollar reward.

To be eligible for the DPS reward, tipsters MUST provide information to authorities using one of the following three methods: (1) Call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477), (2) Submit a web tip through the DPS website by selecting the fugitive you have information about and then clicking on the link under their picture, or (3) Submit a Facebook tip by clicking the “SUBMIT A TIP” link (under the “About” section).

The escapee stabbed a guard driving a prisoner transport bus on Highway 7 west of Centerville. Lopez also briefly got his hands on the driver’s gun belt, but he never got the weapon.

Click below to learn more about the circumstances of the inmate escape from TDCJ communications officer Robert Hurst, visiting with WTAW’s Bill Oliver:

Listen to “Details of a state prison escape near Centerville and the continuing search for the inmate” on Spreaker.

From the TDCJ Facebook page, the TDCJ list of units where visitation has been suspended until further notice:

Region I: Byrd, Duncan, Ellis, Estelle, Ferguson, Goodman, Goree, Holliday, Huntsville, Lewis, Polunsky, Wainwright, and Wynne.

Region II: Beto, Boyd, Coffield, Cole, Hodge, Hutchins, Johnston, Michael, C. Moore, Powledge, Skyview, and Telford.

Region VI: Crain, Halbert, Hamilton, Havins, Hilltop, Hobby, Hughes, Luther, Marlin, Middleton, Mountain View, Murray, Pack, Robertson, San Saba, Sayle, Travis, and Woodman.

Original story:

A manhunt is underway in Leon County for a state prison inmate who escaped Thursday afternoon.

The search prompted Centerville and Leon ISD to cancel classes on Friday and on Thursday afternoon were in a precautionary lockdown and did not run the bus route that goes west of Centerville. Those students were held in the Centerville elementary gym and high school library.

Robert Hurst at the Texas department of criminal justice tells WTAW News that 46 year old Gonzalo Lopez was able to take control of a transport bus, which crashed on Highway 7 west of Centerville. That inmate was the only one who left the scene. There were no life threatening injuries among the unknown number of inmates and prison guards who were on the bus.

Lopez is serving life sentences for capital murder out of Hidalgo County and attempted capital murder from Webb County.

The Leon County sheriff’s office posted on its Facebook page Friday morning that the search focused west of Centerville, north of Highway 7 and between county roads 317 and 320.