Crime

Texas Border Patrol agent accused of “serial killing spree” in Laredo

A U.S. Border Patrol agent has been accused of going on a nearly two-week-long “serial killing spree” that came to an end on Saturday after he was arrested him in connection with the deaths of four women and the kidnapping of a fifth woman.

Webb County-Zapata County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz told The Texas Tribune that Juan David Ortiz, an intel supervisor for the Border Patrol, fled from state troopers after the fifth woman escaped and alerted law enforcement. Officials found him hiding in a truck near a gas station close to a Laredo hotel and arrested him without incident.

“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.”

Alaniz, whose office is assisting the Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Rangers in the investigation, called the killings “just a horrific case overall.”

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Alaniz said Ortiz has killed four women since Sept. 3, including one transgender woman. Two of them were U.S. citizens; the other victims’ nationalities are unknown. All of them were sex workers, he said.

Alaniz said the killings happened when Ortiz was off duty and in his own vehicle, a white four-door Dodge truck.

“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. “There’s nothing that suggested that he did this under the cover of authority or the law.”

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.

“It’s super unfortunate and tragic,” Alaniz said. “It’s not a reflection of Border Patrol, they do a great job protecting our borders they’re super professional and the work they do is important.”

The Associated Press first reported the news of Ortiz’s arrest.

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