Alberto Morales, 42, is an escaped prisoner on the loose in Texas after a violent escape during his cross-country transport. A massive manhunt is now under way for Morales, a man described as a violent offender who should be considered dangerous.
Here’s what you should know about Morales, his escape and the effort to find him.
1. Morales Freaked Out on the Plane
The prisoner was being flown from Miami to Houston to Las Vegas, escorted by two Miami-Dade police officers. Their connecting flight from Miami to Houston was successful, but Morales’ troubling behavior while on-board — he was incessantly banging his head against the seat — prevented him and the officers from boarding their planned flight from Houston to Las Vegas.
2. The Officers Rented a Car
The two detectives were forced to rent a vehicle after they weren’t able to board their second flight. They began driving with Morales in tow from Houston to Las Vegas, with a planned stopping point in the Dallas area. A third detective was planning to meet the two officers to aid them in their journey.
3. He Stabbed A Detective With a Piece of His Eye Glasses
NBCDFW reported that Morales stabbed one of the detectives, 54-year-old Jaime Pardinas, using a broken-off frame piece from his eye glasses. Morales used the sharp end to stab Pardinas once in the chest and three times in the back. The attack took place around 11 p.m. on February 11 as the officers stopped and parked at a Wal-Mart parking lot in Grapevine, Texas. One of the officers, David Carrero, reportedly exited the car to go use the bathroom just before the attack on Pardinas. Pardinas was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital for his injuries. He has been listed under serious but stable condition.
4. Texas Has Placed Morales on its 10 Most Wanted List
The State of Texas has placed Morales on its list of the state’s top ten most wanted fugitives. His standing comes in at number two on the list. A $10,000 reward is being offered to anyone who has information on his whereabouts.
5. He May Still Be Wearing Shackles
Morales is believed to be still wearing his shackles. He may also be wearing a belly band with his hands shackled to them. He made his escape on foot, according to Grapevine Police. Their spokesman, Lt. Barry Bowling, gave a statement on what they know about Morales’ escape thus far:
He is considered dangerous at this time and he is still at large, so we’re seeking the public’s assistance in finding him. As far as we know he may still be in shackles, and the clothing description we had at the time we got the report was that he was in some grey shorts and a blue shirt. We don’t think he could have gotten too far. We’re concerned about where he might be since he’s at large and we do think he’s still very dangerous.
The latest reports point out that Morales was last seen wearing a white hoodie, shorts and one shoe. Texas police officials are scared that he may attempt home break in’s to acquire food and additional clothing.
6. He Now Has Four New Charges Against Him
Robert Ebberling of the Grapevine Police Department stated that Morales now has four charges stemming from this incident — including attempted criminal capital murder, attempted criminal murder, aggravated assault on a police officer and escape. Each of the charges carry a $1 million bond. Capital murder in the state of Texas is subject to placing the perpetrator on Death Row.
7. He Was Set to Serve 30 Years to Life for Sexual Assault With a Weapon
Morales pleaded guilty in 2008 to sexually assaulting a woman at an apartment near the Las Vegas Strip in 2003. CBS reports:
The woman told police a man jumped from her closet in the middle of the night, held a gun to her face, blindfolded her, attacked her several times and left after telling her he would kill her if she called police, according to Clark County District Court documents.
After being convicted in Nevada, he was eventually shipped back to Miami, where Morales faced several charges that stemmed from a separate 2003 criminal case — sexual battery with a deadly weapon, burglary with assault and kidnapping. On December 3, 2012, Morales entered a plea of guilty. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, which was set to run consecutively with his Nevada 30-to-life sentence. He was on his way to serve these sentences in a Carson City, Nevada, prison when he escaped.
8. He’s Short and Stocky
According to Florida corrections records, Morales comes in at 5-foot-7 and 178 pounds.
9. He May Be Traveling in a Stolen White Ford SUV
Grapevine police have reported that Morales may be traveling in a stolen 2008 white Ford SUV that may either be an Expedition or Explorer model. The vehicle was reported stolen from a Super 8 Motel located at 4470 West State Highway 114 on Irving, Texas. Grapevine PD spokesman Robert Eberling stated that:
The vehicle was stolen in close proximity to the last known whereabouts of Morales. In no way do we have information Morales has taken this vehicle. The vehicle also contained a handgun inside.
The SUV displays the Texas license plates 19ZJW8.
10. He Also Goes By The Name “Willie”
Morales’ Miami-Dade, Florida mugshot profile labels one of his aliases as “WILLIE MORALES.”