NEW information has been revealed about the tragic deaths of a Texas grandfather and his four grandchildren after a convict escape.
Gonzalo Lopez was shot dead by police officers last Thursday after escaping from a prison bus, stabbed the driver and fled for three weeks.
Hours before Lopez’s death, the bodies of Mark Collins and his four grandchildren — Waylon, 18, Carson, 16, Hudson, 11, and Bryson, 11 — were found dead at a weekend home the family used for hunting and fishing .
Investigators said they believe Lopez stabbed them all before stealing a truck and driving away. This led to a police chase and a shootout near San Antonio.
According to the Texas Department of Justice, DNA was collected from Lopez at a neighboring cabin two days before the Collins family died.
The TDCJ said the DNA was taken after the cabin was broken into.
Neighbors in the area were upset, claiming they were not told the DNA belonged to the convict.
“If Mr. Collins knew him [Lopez] was still in this area, he probably would have … I am sure he would not have brought his grandchildren here,” neighbor Toni Apodaca told KHOU 11.
However, the TDCJ said confirmation of the DNA evidence only came back late Thursday, after investigators believe the family had already been killed.
A full investigation into how Lopez escaped and evaded capture for nearly a month has been promised by the TDCJ, but there is no timeline for the investigation to be completed.
HELP FROM OTHER PRISONERS
Lopez, who was linked to the Mexican cartel, allegedly told other inmates, “This is your opportunity,” during his May 12 escape, State Sen. John Whitmire said.
There were 16 passengers on board the bus, who assisted Lopez by “causing disturbances, singing and jumping up and down” to distract officers present, Whitmire said.
Lopez, who had a key and a knife with him, was able to free himself from his bonds. Now some of the other inmates could face other charges.
The convicted killer initially ran away after escaping the bus, but was able to get back on and drive a short distance before officers fired and disabled the vehicle.
Lopez would eventually run into the woods and begin his week-long escape.
“Lopez was the worst of the worst,” Whitmire said, adding that “big mistakes were made.”
Due to the escape being investigated by the TDCJ, prisoner transportation in the state is being suspended.
Before becoming a wanted fugitive in 2022, Gonzalo Lopez had a criminal record.
The late criminal was on Texas’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list.
In 1996 he was found guilty of aggravated assault, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and failure to render assistance.
A decade later, in 2006, he was sentenced to life in prison for capital murder.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5520673/gonzalo-lopez-update-collins-family-murder-texas/ Grandpa and four grandchildren ‘stabbed’ by escaped convict ‘could have been SAVED’ as shocking new details revealed