Sher­iff: U.S. Bor­der Pa­trol agent sus­pected in 4 deaths

All four slain women found in past two weeks near Laredo.

Austin American-Statesman Sunday - - METRO & STATE -

LAREDO — A U.S. Bor­der Pa­trol agent sus­pected of killing four women was ar­rested early Satur­day af­ter a fifth woman man­aged to es­cape from him and no­tify au­thor­i­ties, law en­force­ment of­fi­cials said, de­scrib­ing the agent as a “se­rial killer.”

Juan David Or­tiz, 35, a Bor­der Pa­trol in­tel­li­gence su­per­vi­sor, fled from state troop­ers and was found hid­ing in a truck in a Laredo ho­tel park­ing lot about 2 a.m. Satur­day, Webb County Sher­iff Martin Cuel­lar said at a news con­fer­ence in the bor­der city about 145 miles south­west of San An­to­nio.

Cuel­lar said in­ves­ti­ga­tors have “very strong ev­i­dence” that the sus­pect is re­spon­si­ble for the deaths of the four women, who are be­lieved to have worked as pros­ti­tutes.

“We do con­sider this to be a se­rial killer,” Webb County District At­tor­ney Isidro Alaniz said.

Au­thor­i­ties didn’t im­me­di­ately dis­close the vic­tims’ names or na­tion­al­i­ties.

The Laredo Morn­ing News re­ported that all four women were found in the past two weeks in a ru­ral area of Webb County.

The Texas Rangers be­gan in­ves­ti­gat­ing along with the sher­iff ’s of­fice af­ter a 29-year-old woman’s body was found Sept. 4, the news­pa­per said.

Then a fa­tally wounded 42-yearold woman was dis­cov­ered nearby Thurs­day morn­ing, a third woman’s body was found Fri­day, and a fourth slain woman was found Satur­day, ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per.

“The man­ner in which they

were killed is sim­i­lar in all the cases from the ev­i­dence,” Alaniz said, al­though he and Cuel­lar de­clined to dis­cuss the ev­i­dence or say how the women were killed.

Alaniz said in­ves­ti­ga­tors are still try­ing to de­ter­mine a mo­tive for the killings. He said all the women worked as pros­ti­tutes.

Cuel­lar said in­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve Or­tiz acted alone.

Alaniz said his of­fice plans to charge Or­tiz with four counts of mur­der and one count of ag­gra­vated kid­nap­ping.

An­drew Mee­han, U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion as­sis­tant com­mis­sioner for pub­lic af­fairs, said his agency’s Of­fice of Pro­fes­sional Re­spon­si­bil­ity, the Bor­der Pa­trol and the Home­land Se­cu­rity Depart­ment’s Of­fice of the In­spec­tor Gen­eral are fully co­op­er­at­ing with all in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

“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,” Mee­han said in a writ­ten state­ment.

He re­ferred ques­tions about the in­ves­ti­ga­tion to au­thor­i­ties in Webb County and to the Texas Depart­ment of Pub­lic Safety.

A DPS sergeant didn’t re­turn sev­eral mes­sages seek­ing com­ment Satur­day.

Au­thor­i­ties planned to pro­vide an up­date on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion Mon­day.

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