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'No reason to believe he has left the area.' Search for escaped Texas inmate continues

It's been two days since Gonzalo Lopez stabbed a guard in the hand and ran from a prison bus outside of Centerville. Authorities think he may still be nearby.

The escaped convict who was able to stab a prison guard in the hand and run from a crashed prison bus in Leon County on Thursday may still be in the area, authorities said Sunday.

The video above is from Friday night's briefing on efforts to find Lopez.

Hundreds of personnel have been looking for Gonzalo Lopez, 46, a convicted murderer with a violent criminal history and alleged ties to drug cartels.

"We have no reason to believe he has left the area, there is no evidence to support that, at this time," Leon County Sheriff's Office representatives said Saturday in a social media post.

Authorities say they're focused on an area from Highway 7 westbound to Highway 320. There haven't been any sightings of Lopez, but have investigated a few false alarms.

A state highway where the Texas Department of Criminal Justice bush crashed on Thursday remained closed over the weekend, and authorities continued to urge people to stay away from the area near Centerville, which is about 115 miles north of Houston.

Lopez is serving back-to-back life sentences for shooting at a Webb County, Texas sheriff's deputy in 2004 and killing a man with a pickax in Hidalgo County after holding him ransom on a drug debt.

The search area spans more than 100 square miles of east Texas countryside between Centerville, the town of Marquez to the west, and Buffalo to the north.

Credit: TDCJ

RELATED: No sightings of escaped inmate in Leon Co. Saturday, authorities not giving up

Lopez was being transported Thursday from the Alfred Hughes Unit outside of Gatesville in central Texas to a prison medical facility in Huntsville when he was able to get loose and stab the bus driver in the hand and chest. He drove off in the bus but didn't get far thanks to another guard who shot out its back tires with a shotgun.

RELATED: Dozens of Texas prisons cancel visiting hours after prison bus escape

It's not the first time Lopez has managed to hide from law enforcement for an extended period of time. In 2004, he was able to run away from a police chase in South Texas and stayed hidden with the help of a cartel associate, he told investigators at the time.

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