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A convicted murderer who escaped from the Dolph Briscoe Unit state prison in Dilley nearly eleven years ago was ranked last week as one of the nation’s most wanted fugitives by the US Marshals Service.
Jose Fernando Bustos-Diaz, who was serving a 35-year sentence for the murder of a Houston woman in Harris County, was one of two convicts who broke out of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice detention facility on Hwy 85 in April 2010. The two men were the first to escape from the prison that had been built outside Dilley in the late 1980s.
In 2005, Bustos-Diaz had pled guilty to murdering a woman whose body was found beaten and stabbed multiple times.
Bustos-Diaz, who was 21 at the time of his escape and documented as a Mexican national, was described as Hispanic, measuring 5’8” in height and weighing 195 lbs. with black hair and brown eyes. His complexion was listed as light brown. He has birthmarks on the upper right and left sides of his chest, acne scars over his entire face, a tattoo of a heart with a cross on his left hand, a tattoo of the name ‘Vanessa’ on his left wrist and a tattoo of the name ‘Lizeth’ on the inside of his right wrist.
Bustos-Diaz and Octavio Ramos Lopez, 27, are believed to have escaped from the Briscoe Unit before dawn on April 6, 2010, by slipping through a ventilator in the prison’s furniture factory, then cutting a wire fence before fleeing on foot at least 100 yards over an open field to the nearest tree line on the west side of the TDCJ property.
According to a news release by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice at the time, the two inmates may have used a white pickup truck in their escape, indicating that an outside party was involved in the planning and execution of the break-out.
Lopez, who was later captured in Reynosa, Mexico, had been serving a 20-year prison term for two counts of aggravated kidnapping and 12 years for possession of cocaine and possession with intent to deliver cocaine.
According to the TDCJ on the day of the escape, the fugitives “should be considered armed and dangerous.” Members of the public should not attempt to apprehend fugitives but should call 911 or local police if they see suspicious persons in the area, officials said.
A manhunt was launched for the pair after prison officials determined that the convicts had left the compound and included air surveillance, tracking dogs, teams on horseback, roadblocks, and manpower provided by city and county law enforcement, state and federal agents. Schools in Frio and La Salle counties were put on lockdown, and businesses in each community were issued with flyers listing the inmates’ descriptions.
Bustos-Diaz remains at large and is considered dangerous, according to the US Marshals Service, which posted its updated list of wanted fugitives last week.
“Jose Bustos-Diaz poses a significant threat to the public as a fugitive who was convicted for murder and sentenced to 35 years in prison in a court of law,” said US Marshals Service Director Donald Washington. “We added Bustos Diaz to our ‘15 Most Wanted’ fugitive list because locating and apprehending this violent escapee is a top priority, and we will use every available resource to bring him to justice.”
A reward of up to $25,000 is being offered by the US Marshals Service for information leading directly to his arrest. Anyone with information is urged to contact the US Marshals Service Communications Center at 1-877-WANTED-2, or online via the web or an app at www.usmarshals.gov/tips.