Authorities search door-to-door as hunt for Florida fugitive enters day 4



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Posted on February 15, 2013 at 12:08 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 15 at 1:10 AM

GRAPEVINE -- A knock in the night and a shout of "police" sets dogs to barking in a nice neighborhood in Grapevine.

It's about a half-mile from the Walmart parking lot where police say convicted sex offender Alberto Morales stabbed his transport guard and escaped Monday night.

Thursday night, members of a federal fugitive task force went door to door, and searched room to room when residents allowed them inside. Outside, flashlight beams bounced off fences, windows, and culverts --  anyplace a man might hide.

Homeowner Phillip Hinkle watched the team clear his house with military precision. As surreal as the scene appeared, Hinkle said, "I find it reassuring."

He was happy to see them. The fugitive hunters know how desperate and resourceful Morales is.

Morales was kicked off a flight from Miami to Nevada that had a scheduled layover in Houston. He began acting erratically, slamming his head on the seat in front of him. The pilot on the plane refused to allow him and the detectives to get back on for the final leg. So they rented a car and headed northwest to Nevada, stopping in North Texas to retrieve a third detective from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Earlier Thursday, Miami-Dade County Deputy Police Chief Juan Perez said procedures call for three guards to transport such a dangerous prisoner by ground. There were two with Morales, about two hours from picking up a third at D/FW airport.

The detectives decided to stop at a Grapevine Walmart to use the restroom. One, 28-year veteran Jaime Pardinas, remained in the car. Soon, Morales struck, stabbing him with sharpened or broken glasses.

Perez said Pardinas might have thought Morales was asleep. The detective is improving and was scheduled to be moved out of ICU Thursday.

Perez also said Thursday his officers' actions will be reviewed.

Right now, his focus is on finding Morales and supporting his wounded detective.

Anyone who spots Morales or notices any suspicious activity is asked to call the Grapevine Police Department at 817.410.3200 or at 911.