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Leon County resident witnesses the moment Gonzalo Lopez escapes

Posted at 8:59 PM, May 18, 2022

LEON COUNTY, Texas — It's nearly been a full week since Gonzalo Lopez escaped custody.

A manhunt focused in Leon County has been going on since last Thursday for the convicted killer.

Sitting in her vehicle just yards away from Gonzalo Lopez, Melanie Tieperman and her son were in disbelief as they witnessed the moment Lopez escaped.

Tieperman takes us back and describes what she saw in her own words.

”The Jewett police officer never drew his weapon, tried to chase or shoot at the inmate,” said Melanie Tieperman, a Leon County resident.

They watched alongside the road as Lopez jumped a fence, ran up a hill, and into the woods.

From that moment forward their lives were never the same.

”It’s very stressful to have to make an emergency plan with your children not knowing if he attempts to come into the home,” shared Tieperman

Although it may be a stressful time, Robert Hurst says there is reassurance that the word to look out for Lopez is reaching across the state.

"It tells us that our message is getting out that people are keeping an eye out for him if anybody sees anybody that looks like him, please call your local law enforcement agency that’s what that person did over there in McLennan county,” shared Robert Hurst, Public Information Officer for Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Hunstville.

It may have been a false alarm, but Hurst encourages any truthful sightings to be reported.

Meanwhile, Tieperman does say her level of safety is comforted by the ability to conceal and carry.

She says, “I can’t imagine life or America not having those rights right now because if I had to hide out in my home with no form of protection for myself of my family, I don’t know how I would feel."

While law enforcement officers have tirelessly searched for Lopez many local businesses have stepped up to provide donations.

“And that’s why I live here those are the type of people, that you want to be around,” Tieperman says, with tears filled in her eyes.

Now as another day dwindles down 25 News is monitoring the scene. Law enforcement have receive tips, but they have come back as false hopes.