Sheriff David Doran took Jose Daniel Lopez Cervantes, 33, of Kerrville, into custody after a day-long manhunt north of Eldorado on CR 312.
Sheriff David Doran took Jose Daniel Lopez Cervantes, 33, of Kerrville, into custody after a day-long manhunt north of Eldorado on CR 312.

Jose Daniel Lopez Cervantes, 33, and Dalia Ramirez, 22, both of Kerrville, were booked into the Schleicher County Jail following a day-long manhunt on Thursday, September 5th. The hunt for the two fugitives played out about 10 miles north of Eldorado along and either side of Schleicher County Road 312.

Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran arrested Cervantes at 5:45 p.m. as he was walking down the county road toward U.S. 277.

The whole thing started Thursday morning at about 7:30 a.m., when DPS Trooper Joseph Brechtel attempted to stop a 2010 Audi S5 sedan going northbound on U.S. 277. The vehicle was reportedly traveling at speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour.

The trooper gave chase when the car failed to stop and followed when it turned east on CR 312. The fleeing suspect continued over the hill near the Huldale Gas Plant and stayed on the road after the asphalt pavement ended. Trooper Brechtel pursued the car, but the dust from the caliche road prevented him from seeing that it had pulled off the roadway.

By the time the trooper turned around to follow the subject back toward U.S. 277, the Audi had gone back up the hill where it crashed into the pasture on the north side of the county road. Other officers, already en route to assist Trooper Brechtel arrived within minutes and the manhunt began.

Ms. Ramirez surrendered herself about midday, but initially declined to offer up details about Cervantes. Instead, she told officers that she had been driving the car and that she was alone at the time of the accident.

Texas Ranger Sergeant Nick Hanna reportedly questioned Ramirez and was able to get her to admit that it was Cervantes who had been driving and that he was still hiding in the pasture.

Officers found Cervantes’ red cap in the pasture north of the roadway, along with Ramirez’s purse, which reportedly contained a quantity of marijuana.

Ramirez also told officers that Cervantes was unarmed. Until that point, police were operating under the assumption that he was armed with a rifle, based on shell casings that were seen in the car.

Sheriff Doran says he advised the school in Eldorado as well as the Head Start campus, hospital and nursing home of the possibility that Cervantes was armed, and they each decided to go on lock-down.

Officers found a handgun inside Cervantes’ car, and with assurances from Ramirez that he was unarmed, officers breathed a bit easier but continued to scour the surrounding pastures.

A Texas Game Warden canine unit assisted with the search and soon found the suspect’s trail. However, when it was determined that the subject might be armed, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department authorities decided to withdraw the canine unit, rather than risk a confrontation with an armed suspect.

At that point, the search continued with Schleicher County Sheriff’s Department officers and Texas DPS troopers taking part. Texas Game Wardens, including Chris Frey of Eldorado, also assisted.

A crime scene investigator from the Tom Green County Sheriff’s Department was brought in to process the car and document evidence found inside.

A helicopter owned by Texas Pecos Aviation LLC, of Fort Stockton, was also called on to help with the search. The chopper was nearby at Maggie Middleton’s ranch.

A U.S. Customs Service aircraft, equipped with surveillance cameras, circled the search area until a Texas DPS helicopter arrived from Midland.

But, with dozens of officers searching on foot, mounted on ATVs and from the air, Cervantes still managed to avoid detection.

By late afternoon, most of the officers had returned to their normal duties, but local officers continued the search. Former Justice of the Peace Jimmy Doyle took his plane up so that Schleicher County Chief Deputy Jason Chatham could search from the air while Sheriff Doran and other deputies continued looking on the ground.

That’s when Tanner Cude loaded his Trans Pecos Aviation helicopter on a trailer and headed down CR 312 toward U.S. 277.

About the same time that Doyle was landing his plane at the Schleicher County Airport, Cude spotted a man walking along CR 312 and called 9-1-1.

Sheriff Doran was nearby and responded within a couple of minutes. The pedestrian turned out to be Cervantes.

Despite being exhausted from a full day in the sweltering heat, Cervantes became verbally combative with Doran, who approached the fugitive with his .45 caliber service pistol drawn. At that point, the sheriff ordered Cervantes onto the ground and cuffed his hands behind his back.

By the time other officers arrived, Doran had placed Cervantes into the back seat of his patrol unit.

Cervantes was released on bail the following day on a $10,500 surety bond. Ms. Ramirez remained in custody, in lieu of $8,000 bond, as this edition went to press.