Search for escaped sex offender continues in North Texas

Posted Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Audio: Miami police officer's frantic 911 call

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GRAPEVINE -- Miami-Dade police Detective Jaime Pardinas gasped for air Monday night as he told a 911 dispatcher that inmate Alberto Morales had stabbed him in the neck, run away and was a "schizophrenic," according to a recording released Wednesday by Grapevine police.

The detective fought for breath.

"Ah, ah," Pardinas gets out.

The dispatcher asked Pardinas which way the inmate had gone.

"I can't tell you," Pardinas said.

But Pardinas managed to give a description of Morales.

"He's wearing blue shorts, gray sweatshirt and a hooded jacket," Pardinas gasped. "We're at a Wal-Mart."

His partner, Miami-Dade Detective David Carrero, returned from inside the store.

"He's stabbed in the back," Carrero said, picking up the call. The inmate "didn't take the gun. He's got a belly bar on with handcuffs."

The search for Morales, 42, a convicted sex offender being transported from Miami to Las Vegas, continued for a second day Wednesday.

A Miami-Dade police spokeswoman said Morales used a broken or sharpened piece from his glasses to stab Pardinas.

"He has a horrible, horrible past," police Sgt. Patricia Bimonte said at an afternoon news conference at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

"He's not going to hesitate to hurt somebody else."

Bimonte said she believed that Morales was still in Dallas-Fort Worth and could not go far because he was wearing shackles, shorts and only one shoe.

"I can't believe that he's been able to get out of here," she said.

Pardinas remained hospitalized Wednesday after surgery at Parkland for deep stab wounds in his neck, shoulder and back, and a collapsed lung, she said. The officer, who has been on the force for 28 years, was in serious but stable condition.

The Florida detectives were transporting Morales to Las Vegas where he was to begin serving a 30-year sentence for sexual assault. The trip had started on an airplane, but at a layover in Houston, airline officials declined to reseat Morales because of his disturbing behavior.

So the detectives rented a car and headed north. Pardinas and Carrero planned to meet a third Miami-Dade detective who was coming to help with the driving on the 1,200-mile trip.

About 11:20 p.m. Monday, they stopped at the Wal-Mart in the 1600 block of Texas 114 in Grapevine. Carrero went inside to use the restroom. Pardinas stayed in the car with Morales.

Bimonte said she could not address whether any security lapses might have been factors in the escape.

Morales ran off even though he was shackled "appropriately," wearing handcuffs and a chain to prevent him from moving his arms, she said.

"We haven't found his clothes or shackles," Grapevine police Sgt. Robert Eberling said Wednesday morning. He said authorities did not have any good leads and warned North Texas residents to be on high alert for Morales.

"We are very concerned that he has not been found," Eberling said. "He's a dangerous individual."

At least one area school district, Grapevine-Colleyville, was keeping exteriors doors locked.

Eight to 10 Miami-Dade officers were expected to join Texas authorities and U.S. marshals in the manhunt, Bimonte said. Federal officials are watching the Mexican border.

Morales is about 5-feet-7 and 165 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair. He has a tattoo of a Native American on a horse on his left shoulder and upper left arm. He has scars on his left hand, left arm and nose, and has discolored spots on his face around his right eye and on his forehead.

He was wearing dark shorts, a white hooded jacket and one tennis shoe.

Morales now faces four Texas charges: attempted capital murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault on a police officer and escape.

On Thursday, the reward offered for any information leading to the capture and arrest of Morales was increased from $10,000 to $20,000. Grapevine police also released a photo showing Morales' tattoo of an American Indian on his arm.

In 2008, Morales pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman at an apartment blocks away from the Las Vegas Strip in 2003. Then he was sent to Florida to face other charges in a 2003 offense, Las Vegas police have said.

In Miami, Morales was sentenced to 10 years in prison in December after pleading guilty to sexual battery with a deadly weapon, burglary with assault and kidnapping in the 2003 case.

His Las Vegas attorney Marc Saggese said Morales, who was born in Cuba, had told him that he was hit in the head with a baseball bat when he was 17, causing lasting brain damage.

Morales said he heard voices and had trouble controlling impulses.

While in a jail medical ward, Morales mutilated his genitals and scrawled words in blood on the wall. He underwent a psychological examination by doctors at a Nevada state mental hospital in Sparks, but he was found competent to stand trial, the attorney said.

This report includes material from The Associated Press.

Domingo Ramirez Jr.

817-390-7763

Twitter: @mingoramirezjr.

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