Reward upped to $50K for escaped Texas inmate
Law enforcement officers and K-9 teams continue to search for convicted murderer Gonzalo Lopez
By Valerie Gonzalez
CENTERVILLE, Texas — Efforts and a reward to find an escapee increased over the weekend after a Hidalgo County convicted murderer managed to break free last week.
A combined $50,000 reward is now being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Gonzalo Artemio Lopez, 46.
Law enforcement officers from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas Department of Public Safety and other agencies mounted horses and deployed K-9 teams on Sunday as they continued searching for Lopez in Leon County.
Lopez escaped while being transported from a state facility in West Texas on Thursday. According to TDCJ, Lopez assaulted a corrections officer on the transport bus and fled from the vehicle.
Lopez was convicted of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping in Hidalgo County in 2006 and sentenced to life in prison.
In March 2005, Lopez and another man forced their way into the home of Guadalupe "Lupe" Ramirez, a Weslaco man, and kidnapped him using a rusty revolver. After attempts to collect a $40,000 ransom and a police search that spanned a month, Lopez was caught in Starr County for different charges.
He led investigators to a wooded area where Ramirez's body was found tied with rope and buried in a 4-foot hole.
The following year, Lopez was given a second life sentence after being convicted of attempted capital murder in Webb County.
Lopez has been affiliated with the Mexican Mafia and other criminal organizations.
"We will not rest until Lopez is caught," Bryan Collier, TDCJ's executive director, said via a statement shared on social media. "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."
Lopez is 6 feet tall, weighs about 185 pounds and has tattoos on his back, abdomen and chest. He also has a burn scar on the right side of his neck.
If Lopez is spotted, the public is asked not to approach him, but instead contact TDCJ OIG Crime Stoppers at (800) 832-8477 or (936) 437-5171. Information can also be shared with local law enforcement agencies via 911. Tips can also be sent through their website at: https://www.p3tips.com/TipForm.aspx?ID=911#English.
The Texas Department of Public Safety contributed $35,000, and the U.S. Marshals added $10,000 to the TDCJ OIG's $5,000 reward for a combined $50,000.
(c)2022 The Monitor (McAllen, Texas)
Texas authorities used horse and canine teams to help track down Gonzalo Lopez, a convicted murderer, who escaped custody after he was able to break out of his restraints on his way to a medical appointment. https://t.co/UoGwQdQy0I pic.twitter.com/hXLuwJbnRy— 48 Hours (@48hours) May 16, 2022
Day 5 : PIO , Robert Hurst, giving updates on the Texas Inmate Escapee Gonzalo Lopez still missing. Police officers are still searching in Leon County and believe Lopez is still in the area . Hearst will be giving us about authorities search later on today @KAGSnews pic.twitter.com/4uSlQ58EF3— Anita Y. Hamilton- Freeman (@AnitaYHamilton) May 16, 2022
The last sighting of Texas escapee Gonzalo Lopez was Thurs afternoon - officer spotted him under a tree in his boxers. Authorities believe he is still within their perimeter. He is a Mexican mafia member w/ gang connections in the US and Mexico, TX Dept. of Criminal Justice says. pic.twitter.com/BuxvvwSk9T— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) May 14, 2022