LEON COUNTY, Texas — Six days after he escaped on foot, a Texas prisoner still hasn’t been caught.
In the distance you can barely see what appears to be Lopez, 46, running through a pasture in his white prison uniform. Authorities said they still believe Lopez is somewhere nearby.
A source told KHOU 11 News that on Tuesday officers found evidence left behind by Lopez shortly after the bus crashed.
“If we didn’t think he was out here, we wouldn’t be here looking for him out here,” TDCJ spokesman Robert Hurst said.
Hurst said the perimeter of the search has narrowed a bit: It’s now about five square miles.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers are continuing the round-the-clock search effort, as Hurst said they will stay for as long as it takes to find him.
“There’s nothing that’s telling our investigators ... searching this area, that he’s not back there,” Hurst said. “So as long as they have credible evidence information, continuing to look for him, they’re going to stay on the tracks and keep looking for him in Leon County.”
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said it was the largest concentrated manhunt since 2004 or 2005.
Lopez stabbed a guard in the hand and ran from a crashed prison bus on Thursday in Leon County.
Lopez was being transported Thursday 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 thanks to another guard who shot out its back tires with a shotgun.
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.
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.
Authorities with several law enforcement agencies helped in the search for Lopez.
TDCJ officials said officers on horseback as well as K-9 units were at the search scene, which was a section of East Texas countryside between Centerville, the town of Marquez to the west, and Buffalo to the north.