TDCJ says DNA linking escaped inmate to area where family of 5 was killed came back after murders

Escaped inmate shot, killed during foot-chase after possibly killing 1 adult, 4 children from the Houston-area, TDCJ says (KPRC)

CENTERVILLE, Texas – The Texas Department of Criminal Justice confirmed Wednesday that the DNA that had been collected from a nearby cabin two days before the Collins family of five were killed came back after the murders.

Gonzalo Lopez who had killed on behalf of Mexican drug cartels, fled a prison bus on May 12 after breaking free from his restraints and from a caged area of the vehicle. Lopez stabbed and injured the bus driver before escaping into a wooded area near Centerville, which is between Dallas and Houston.

At around 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 2, authorities went to a home near Centerville for a welfare check and discovered five bodies. In a statement, their family identified the five killed as 66-year-old Mark Collins, and his four grandsons: Waylon Collins, 18; Carson Collins, 16; Hudson Collins, 11; and Bryson Collins, 11. Waylon, Carson and Hudson were brothers and Bryson was their cousin.

Investigators say Lopez stole an AR-15-style rifle and a pistol from the family’s ranch, as well as a truck that he drove about 220 miles to Atascosa County, south of San Antonio, where officers fatally shot him late Thursday.

On Wednesday, TDCJ confirmed that DNA was collected from a burglarized cabin that was located next door to where the Collins family was staying two days prior to the murders.

Neighbors were allegedly upset, saying they weren’t told that the DNA collected from the cabin belonged to Lopez, and said Mark wouldn’t have brought his family there had he known the convicted killer was still on the loose in the area.

TDCJ said the confirmation of the DNA evidence did not come back to them until late Thursday, which, at that time, investigators believe the family had already been killed.

The investigation is still ongoing.

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