CENTERVILLE, Texas — As day six of the search for Gonzalo Lopez comes to a close, questions continue to persist over how Lopez was able to escape and why it appeared on a cell phone video that no one was pursuing him.
Authorities have exhausted more than 100 hours of man power in searching for Lopez but they say they will not stop until he is found. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Public Information Officer Robert Hurst said the TDCJ is using every resource available to find the convicted murderer.
Authorities are using K9 units, search teams on the ground, DPS helicopters and even thermal imaging. This technology will record Lopez's body heat as he moves throughout the day and night.
"They didn't want to leave," Hurst said during a press conference Tuesday in regards to the officers who needed a break. The teams are searching on foot in the high 90 degree temperatures. "They don't want to go home. They wanted to stay out here and they told their team leader we don't want to go home," Hurst said. "We want to stay here and get him back in custody."
Authorities still believe that Lopez is within the search perimeter.
Melanie Tieperman and her son, Braxton were traveling on Highway 7 just outside of Centerville last Thursday when they came upon the bus crash. Tieperman said Braxton spotted Lopez making his way across the pasture and quickly recorded a few brief seconds as he walked by and into thick brush and woods.
Once Tieperman saw what was happening, she said she drove up to the authorities next to the crashed bus and told them Lopez had gone into the woods.
"There was an inmate in a white suit that was out of the bus, jumped the fence he then ran up the hill and into the woods," Tieperman said. "The Jewett police officer was there and he didn't try to pursue the inmate."
When asked about what exactly happened once Lopez was off the bus, Hurst said he could not go into detail.
"I cannot confirm - I can't address that right now. That's part of an ongoing investigation," Hurst said. "These officers that are out here they're experienced and I'm not going to second guess the officers."
When asked if Hurst had seen the video that Tieperman's son shot, he said he had not and encouraged people not to criticize law enforcement's actions and play 'armchair quarterback.'
"These officers are veteran officers. They've dealt with situations like this before so they are well aware of what they're dealing with," Hurst said. "They know how to handle this situation. These K9s are experienced dogs. They know what they're doing as well."
Highway 7, just outside if Centerville, remains closed and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is still offering a reward of $50,000 for any information that leads to his arrest and conviction.