The search for a murder suspect who fled the probation office at the Tarrant County Courthouse into Downtown Fort Worth Wednesday morning continues throughout North Texas on Thanksgiving Day.
The Tarrant County Sheriff's Department said 36-year-old David Matthew Merrill, who has been accused of killing 56-year-old Rudy Mata last year, was out on bond awaiting the murder trial.
In Sept. 2012, Merrill was arrested and charged with the murder of Mata at an Arlington apartment complex. Arlington investigators said Merrill shot Mata several times. Police said Mata, a local musician, went to his son-in-law's apartment to mediate a family dispute over money when he was killed.
To satisfy the conditions of his bond, Merrill was meeting with the probation department to take a drug test. Officials said Merrill failed the test and, before deputies could take him back into custody for violating the bond, he ran.
Officials said Merrill ran toward the Tarrant County College's Trinity River East campus, which was briefly placed on lock down, but sheriff’s officials said Wednesday afternoon that Merrill was never actually on the campus.
It’s not clear how he escaped the area, but police said that he is no longer believed to be in downtown.
Multiple agencies, from the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Fugitive Task Force to various federal agencies are involved in the search for Merrill.
When he fled, Merrill was said to be wearing a maroon long-sleeve Henley shirt with three buttons near the collar. He was also wearing a black, leather jacket and blue jeans. He is white, 5-feet 10-inches tall and weighs about 185 lbs. He has a large tribal tattoo on his chest.
Officials say Merrill should be considered armed and dangerous and that the public should not attempt to apprehend him. Anyone with information on his location is asked to call 911 or the Tarrant County Sheriff's Department at 817-884-1213. Callers may remain anonymous.