US Border Patrol officer “a serial killer”
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.