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Despite Suspect Death, Morales Escape Investigation Continues

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GRAPEVINE (CBSDFW.COM) – The massive manhunt for Alberto Morales, is over but the case is still open.

The search came to a violent end Saturday after officers shot and killed the escaped prisoner.

“They couldn’t see his hands at one point,” said Sgt. Robert Eberling of the Grapevine Police Department. “They asked repeatedly to see his hands and then he actually lunged at the officers.”

Eberling said that’s when one Grapevine Police officer and two U.S. Marshals opened-fire on Morales.

The shooting happened early Saturday morning in a wooded area near Grapevine Lake.

Morales may be deceased but the investigation is alive and well.

“We are kind of backtracking trying to see if he discarded some items along the way to give us a better picture to see how he got up there,” said Eberling.

A break in the case came Friday night when a resident living near the lake called 911 saying her home was burglarized.

On the emergency call the resident stated that her bedroom door was locked and the lights were on. She told police her window was out.

The dispatcher advised the resident to get out of her home and wait in her vehicle to be safe.

Investigators say Morales made his escape one week ago today after stabbing Miami-Dade Police officer Jaime Pardinas with a pair of broken eyeglasses.

The 28-year veteran is expected to make a full recovery.

Pardinas’ girlfriend says news of Morales being found was comforting.

“It gives us a sense of closure and as a family,” said Marinka Stuvel. “Now we can move forward in healing and making sure he gets better.”

Pardinas and his partner, David Carrero, were transporting Morales from Florida to Nevada.

The Florida officers never asked for assistance — or even alerted local authorities to the fact they were transporting a criminal through town.

“It’s not uncommon for a police department to reach out to another police department and say ‘hey we’ve got a transport through your city we want to inform you of that,’” said Eberling.

Grapevine police say they believe Miami-Dade police didn’t anticipate Morales to become violent or they would have planned differently.

That is part of the ongoing investigation.

And now that Morales, a convicted serial rapist, is no longer a threat to North Texas, families like Ebby Hooton’s say they can return to their everyday routines.

“I had stopped running and taking her outside and was staying inside,” said Hooton. “Now we’re back at the park.  It’s a much safer feeling.”

The Miami-Dade Police Department is investigating what went wrong, and if any procedural changes need to be made when transporting inmates.

There is a question of who is going to pick up the costly price-tag associated with the manhunt.

It started out as a problem concerning officers with the Miami-Dade Police Department but it quickly became an around the clock investigation spearheaded by Grapevine.

Grapevine Police had 25 to 30 additional officers working each day.

When asked who would be picking it up, Eberling said “To be honest I don’t know how that’s going to work out.  It was a long, exhaustive  investigation and it took many man hours to complete it.”

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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