Search intensifies for escaped felon believed to be on the lam in North Texas
The manhunt continues for Alberto Morales, a 42-year-old convicted sex offender and armed burglar who escaped police custody on February 11 in Grapevine. On Thursday afternoon, police in Southlake announced a $20,000 reward for any information that leads to his capture.
On Monday, Morales was on his way to a Nevada prison to serve a sentence for sexual battery. He was being escorted by police from Miami but reportedly caused so much trouble on a commercial flight to Nevada that he was not allowed onboard the plane after a layover in Houston. That led to two officers driving Morales in a rental car en route to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
But when Morales was left alone with one officer while the other used the restroom at a Grapevine Wal-Mart, he stabbed officer Jamie Pardinas in the neck and back. Morales was seen on video surveillance fleeing the scene.
Police departments from Grapevine and Southlake have received numerous tips about Morales, but thus far none have resulted in his capture. U.S. Marshals along with police officers from Miami have joined the search, which has been extended across the state of Texas. However, authorities still believe Morales is in North Texas.
"While the possibility exists that Morales has left the Southlake area, due to a lack of viable leads, we must work off the assumption Morales is still in the vicinity," Southlake police chief Steve Mylett said in a statement. "Officers are working around the clock to locate Morales."
Southlake Police have conducted searches of vacant buildings, barns and creek beds as well as going door-to-door in the area in efforts to find the escaped felon.
"Morales is an extremely violent individual and remains armed and dangerous," Mylett warned. "Do not approach if you see him — immediately contact 911."