US Border Pa­trol of­fi­cer “a se­rial killer”

La Semana - - FRONT PAGE | PORTADA -

A US Border Pa­trol of­fi­cer is sus­pected of be­ing a se­rial killer af­ter be­ing ac­cused of the mur­der of four pros­ti­tutes and the ab­duc­tion of a fifth.

Juan David Or­tiz, an in­tel su­per­vi­sor for the Border Pa­trol who has worked for the agency for 10 years, was ar­rested overnight on Satur­day in a park­ing lot in Laredo, Texas.

He fled po­lice af­ter the fifth woman he ab­ducted es­caped and in­formed au­thor­i­ties.

The Texas Tri­bune re­ports that of­fi­cials found him hid­ing in a truck near a gas sta­tion close to a Laredo ho­tel and ar­rested him with­out in­ci­dent. The killing spree is thought to have taken place over the last two weeks.

Webb County Sher­iff Martin Cuel­lar said that au­thor­i­ties have “very strong ev­i­dence” to link Or­tiz, 35, to the crimes, and called him a “se­rial killer.”

“The sus­pect was hunt­ing for his vic­tims,” Webb County District At­tor­ney Isidro Alaniz said. “We do con­sider this to be a se­rial killer.”

Alaniz told The Texas Tri­bune that the fifth woman Or­tiz picked up quickly re­al­ized that she was in dan­ger.

“He picked [the fifth woman] up, she went will­ingly with him and then while she was with him things started to get dan­ger­ous for her and when she tried to es­cape from him at a gas sta­tion that’s when she ran into a trooper,” Alaniz said.

"In our opin­ion he is the sole per­son re­spon­si­ble for this hor­rific se­rial killing spree."

He said that au­thor­i­ties be­lieve Or­tiz had killed all four women since Septem­ber 3 while he was off-duty.

Au­thor­i­ties be­lieve he acted alone and the mo­tive is not known at this stage.

US Cus­toms and Border Pro­tec­tion said in a stat­ment: "Our sin­cer­est con­do­lences go out to the vic­tims' fam­ily and friends. While it is CBP pol­icy to not com­ment on the de­tails of an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion, crim­i­nal ac­tion by our em­ploy­ees is not, and will not be tol­er­ated."

A mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan on Septem­ber 4 when Melissa Ramirez, 29, of Laredo, was found dead.

On Thurs­day, a woman named Clau­dine Anne Luera, 42, was found ly­ing in the road close to Ramirez was found but died of "head trauma" at hos­pi­tal.

A third body was found on Fri­day night and a fourth on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

Law en­force­ment plans to charge Or­tiz with ag­gra­vated kid­nap­ping and mur­der, Alaniz said, adding that his of­fice will pur­sue four first-de­gree mur­der in­dict­ments against Or­tiz.

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