Documents detail failures during search of escaped fugitive, Gonzalo Lopez
CENTERVILLE, TX (KBTX) - New information is coming to light regarding the search efforts for escaped convict Gonzalo Lopez.
Back in 2004, Lopez tried to kill a Webb County Sheriff Deputy and was sentenced to life in prison.
Newly released documents obtained by KBTX highlight the search efforts for Gonzalo Lopez who killed a family of five in Centerville.
Lopez escaped from a Texas Department of Criminal Justice transport bus in May and remained at large for weeks.
The entire community of Centerville watched as law enforcement took over their town with search dogs, horses, TDCJ staff and helicopters; however, during his escape, Lopez was able to break through the perimeter after killing five members of the Collins Family.
Lopez then led law enforcement on a pursuit in San Antonio before ultimately being killed in a shootout.
The actions of TDCJ have been called into question by residents and now, two reviews of the incident highlight issues.
According to the TDCJ serious incident review, scent-specific canines were used inside the search perimeter but potentially contaminated the track.
It is believed that the first pack of canines used took an incorrect turn and lost Lopez’s scent; then a second pack was placed in that ending location, potentially searching the incorrect area.
Cross-contamination of Lopez’s scent was also a concern due to the use of multiple packs of canines and horses.
The report also states that the search staff were confused on who was in charge at times because there were two people acting as incident commander.
The report ends with recommendations which included additional training for canine handlers and better identification badges.
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