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Texas Lt. Governor calls for investigation into convicted killer's escape, Leon County murders

Dan Patrick
Posted at 4:27 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 17:31:26-04

HOUSTON — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is calling on the Texas Rangers to investigate how cartel killer Gonzalo Lopez escaped from custody on board a prison bus in Leon County and murdered a grandfather and his four grandsons three weeks later.

"Today, I sent a letter requesting an investigation by the Texas Rangers into how a convicted killer was able to escape Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) custody, elude capture for 21 days, and perpetrate the brutal murder of Mark Collins and his 4 grandsons on June 2," Patrick said in statement sent Tuesday afternoon.

The Republican state leader said the deaths of Carson, 16, Hudson, 11, and Waylon Collins, 18, their cousin Bryson, 11, and their grandfather, Mark Collins, 66 were "preventable and should never have happened."

Patrick said he hopes the rangers can answer how Lopez escaped from custody, while handcuffed and inside a metal cage and near a second guard at the back of transport.

He would also like to know if the convicted killer was properly searched by TDCJ corrections officers prior to boarding the transport in Huntsville.

Patrick also had questions about how Lopez evaded capture despite "hundreds of law enforcement, bloodhounds and air patrols" searching the area near Centerville for several weeks.

There's still no official word from law enforcement if the surrounding community was notified of a break-in at home near the Collins' cabin earlier that week.

"As to the cabin that was broken into days before the murder, fingerprints and DNA samples were taken, but results were not expected back for 48 hours," Patrick said. "By the time the results came back with a positive match to the escapee, it was too late for the Collins family."

Texas DPS and TDCJ have yet to respond to the lieutenant governor's request.