Bor­der pa­trol agent ar­rested in killings of 4 women

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - NATION -

LAREDO, Texas — 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, an in­tel­li­gence su­per­vi­sor for the Bor­der Pa­trol, fled from state troop­ers and was found hid­ing in a truck in a ho­tel park­ing lot in Laredo around 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 he 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,” said Webb County District At­tor­ney Isidro Alaniz.

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

He re­ferred ques­tions about the in­ves­ti­ga­tion to au­thor­i­ties in Webb County and to the Texas De­part­ment of Pub­lic Safety, whose Texas Rangers are also in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

A Texas De­part­ment of Pub­lic Safety sergeant didn’t re­turn sev­eral mes­sages seek­ing com­ment on Satur­day.

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

“The man­ner in which they were killed is sim­i­lar in all the cases from the ev­i­dence,” Alaniz said.

But both Alaniz 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. 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.

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