Juan David Ortiz, a 10-year veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol, was secretly a serial killer, the district attorney of Webb County, Texas, said Saturday, according to an Associated Press report. State troopers arrested Ortiz in a Laredo parking lot at about 2 a.m. local time on Saturday morning. Ortiz fled from police who found him cowering inside a truck in the parking lot outside a local hotel in the city about 145 miles southwest of San Antonio.
Ortiz, 35, was an intelligence supervisor with the Border Patrol, according to a report by the Laredo Morning Times. While charges against him had not yet been filed as of late Saturday, Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz said that investigators had reason to believe that it was Ortiz who killed three women and one man, whose bodies were discovered near rural roads in unpopulated areas of Webb County over the past two weeks.
“We have probable cause to believe that he is responsible for this series of murders, which I would qualify as a serial murderer,” Alaniz said, according to the Laredo Morning Times.
“The county, the city can rest assured we have the serial killer in custody,” Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar added.
#UPDATE CBP statement on #BorderPatrol agent Juan David Ortiz accused of murdering 4 women in #Laredo #Texas: “criminal action by our employees is not, and will not be tolerated.” https://t.co/6mLsCKNavC pic.twitter.com/57qUstX06I— Oscar Margain (@OscarBorderTeam) September 15, 2018
Valerie Gonzalez, a reporter for KRGV TV News, reported via Twitter that Ortiz had confessed to the four slayings. His known victims were all believed to have worked as prostitutes, and according to a CBS News report, investigators have not ruled out the possibility of more victims.
In fact, Ortiz allegedly had a fifth victim, a woman who escaped and helped police track down her assailant, the CBS report said. According to the Laredo Morning Times report, state police located Ortiz at a Laredo gas station, and chased him when he immediately took off running — only to quickly find him inside a pickup truck in a nearby hotel parking lot.
Investigators found the body of 29-year-old mother-of-two Melissa Ramirez, of Laredo, on September 4, along a remote stretch of Texas Route 255. Nine days later, police found 42-year-old Claudine Anne Luera suffering from what they described as “head trauma” along the same road. Luera was rushed to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead from her injury.
Investigators discovered two more bodies, one on Friday and one on Saturday, in a remote area along Interstate Route 35. Police have not released the identities of those victims, nor any details on how they were killed other than to say that the deaths occurred in a manner consistent with the slayings of Ramirez and Luera. The fourth body was discovered after Ortiz was in custody, though police would not reveal what led them to either body, according to the report.
Later on Saturday, the U.S, Customs and Border Patrol released a statement saying that it could not comment on any ongoing investigation, but “criminal action by our employees is not, and will not be tolerated.”