FORT WORTH — Sheriff's deputies, police and a federal fugitive team are still searching for a murder suspect who fled a probation office after learning there was a warrant for his arrest.
Authorities said 36-year-old David Matthew Merrill fled from the Community Supervision and Corrections Department's Central Office after checking in with his probation officer Wednesday morning.
According to police reports, Merrill's bond was revoked on Sept. 30 after testing positive for methamphetamine. He has reported to his probation officer for a year.
Tarrant County deputies searchced the downtown area, including an area near the Trinity River.
Merrill was originally arrested and charged with the murder of his 56-year-old father-in-law, Rudy Mata, in September of 2012. According to police, Merrill shot Mata several times in the 2500 block of Lynnwood Dr. in Arlington. The victim was transported to Arlington Memorial Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Merrill was originally released on a reduced bond of $35,555, which was raised to $50,000 after a curfew violation. He was scheduled to face trial in January. Merill was in a basement office then ran down a hallway and up the stairs past deputies before they could be alerted.
"According to the officer, he was nervous, and then ran," said Jim Sinclair, assistant director of Community Supervision in Tarrant County. "We're not peace officers. We don't have arrest powers."
Sinclair said the probation officer followed protocol by confronting Merrill immediately about drugs in his system. He said the court had already been alerted to issue an arrest warrant. Merrill is now wanted for murder and for jumping bond.
"He needs to know people looking for him mean business," said Terry Grisham, top administrative aide to Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson.
Mata was a North Texas vocalist who in 1996 joined The Cavaliers, a band originally formed in San Angelo in 1956 and known for the 1963 cover of Wayne Cochran's "Last Kiss." He also performed with the Hi Roller Band.
Merrill is 5-foot-10, weighs 185 pounds and has a large tribal tattoo on his chest. The sheriff's department said he was wearing a black leather jacket, blue jeans and a maroon Henley-style shirt with three buttons.