Border Pa­trol agent sus­pected of killing 4 women

‘Se­rial killer’ acted alone, law en­force­ment says af­ter 5th woman es­capes

The Washington Post Sunday - - POLITICS & THE NATION - BY JUAN A. LOZANO

hous­ton — Texas state troop­ers ar­rested a U.S. Border Pa­trol su­per­vi­sor Satur­day who they say went on a two-week se­rial killing spree that left four fe­male sex work­ers dead and ended only when a fifth woman es­caped from him at a gas sta­tion and found help.

Juan David Or­tiz, 35, 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 work­ing as pros­ti­tutes. One of the vic­tims was a trans­gen­der woman, said Webb County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Isidro Alaniz.

“We do con­sider this to be a se­rial killer,” Alaniz said.

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

“When she tried to es­cape from him at a gas sta­tion that’s when she ran into a (state) trooper,” Alaniz said.

Or­tiz will be charged with four counts of mur­der and one count of ag­gra­vated kid­nap­ping, Alaniz said.

He said that au­thor­i­ties be­lieve Or­tiz had killed all four women since Sept. 3. The names of the vic­tims were not im­me­di­ately re­leased. Alaniz said two of them were U.S. cit­i­zens, but the na­tion­al­i­ties of the other two were not yet known.

“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.

“It’s in­ter­est­ing that he would be ob­serv­ing and watch­ing as law en­force­ment was look­ing for the killer, that he would be re­port­ing to work ev­ery day like nor­mal,” Alaniz said.

Or­tiz was a 10-year vet­eran of the Border Pa­trol. U.S. Cus­toms and Border Pro­tec­tion is­sued a state­ment say­ing that it was fully co­op­er­at­ing with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The Texas De­part­ment of Pub­lic Safety, whose Texas Rangers are in­ves­ti­gat­ing, did not re­turn sev­eral mes­sages seek­ing com­ment.

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