A U.S. Border Patrol agent was arrested Saturday in Texas on suspicion that he killed four women and prosecutors are describing him as a serial killer. The agent, Juan David Ortiz, is a supervisor for the Border Patrol. He fled into a hotel parking lot in Laredo, Texas after he fled from state troopers but was located and arrested early Saturday morning.
“The county, the city can rest assured we have the serial killer in custody,” said Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar. Journalist Valerie Gonzalez wrote on Twitter that Ortiz “confessed to all four homicides.” She later posted a statement from the Webb Conty Sheriff’s Office that describes Ortiz as a 10-year Border Patrol veteran.
Update: Juan David Ortiz confessed to all four homicides. He is a nine-year veteran of Border Patrol, according to Webb County DA. This would be the second homicide investigation in Webb involving a border patrol agent from the Laredo sector.
The bodies of four victims were found over the past two weeks, sheriff’s spokesman Eduardo Chapa said. Chapa said investigators are not ruling out the possibility of more victims. An affidavit originally described the victims as three women and one man but the sheriff’s office later said that the victim identified as male was a transgender woman.
The victims were shot in the head, according to the affidavit. All of the victims worked as prostitutes, authorities said.
“He was profiling certain kinds of victims,” Alaniz said, adding “the suspect was hunting for his victims.” The prosecutor says he feels comfortable describing Ortiz as a serial killer.
It was not immediately known whether Ortiz has an attorney.
Woman able to escape, call police
The case broke Friday after a woman narrowly escaped Ortiz’s grasp and was able to call police, the criminal affidavit shows.
The woman was in a truck with a man named “David” and the two started talking about one of the prostitutes who had gone missing a week earlier. The man then pulled out a pistol and pointed it at her, and when she tried to flee, he grabbed her shirt to prevent her from leaving the vehicle, the affidavit states.
She pulled off her shirt and ran to a nearby gas station, where she found a state trooper. The victim was able to provide a detailed description of Ortiz, including his tattoos, Alaniz said.
Authorities found Ortiz at a gas station in Laredo, about 160 miles southwest of San Antonio. He fled the scene on foot and ran to a Ramada Inn, where he was found hiding in the bed of a pickup truck, Alaniz said.
Ortiz was read his Miranda Rights and then verbally confessed to killing four people over the last two weeks, the affidavit states. Two of the four killings took place in the hours after the woman was able to escape but before police tracked him down, according to the affidavit.
“We have very strong evidence that he is the person who has been killing,” Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar said at a news conference.
Ortiz, Cuellar said, spent 10 years as an agent with the U.S. Border Patrol. He also is a U.S. Navy veteran, Alaniz said.
Cuellar passed his condolences to the families of the four victims. He said his department, along with other state and federal agencies, had been “working diligently on this case.”
In April, agent Anthony Burgos-Aviles, was accused of killing a woman and their child. The difference is that the knowledge gained in their profession was argued to have helped Burgos-Aviles in execution of alleged crime. So far, that hasn’t been the case made for Ortiz.
Although most say all four of the victims were women, that “the bodies of three females and one male were found over the last two weeks.”
Authorities say they have “very strong evidence” that Ortiz was the one who killed four prostitutes and he is believed to have acted alone. Authorities were able to locate Ortiz after a fifth woman apparently managed to escape and notify law enforcement officers.
The county’s district attorney, Isidro Alaniz, said Ortiz will be charged with four counts of murder and one count of aggravated kidnapping. The motives for the suspected killings are not clear.
A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent in Texas suspected of being a serial killer had prepared numerous weapons to confront law enforcement officers as they closed in to arrest him and had hoped to die by “suicide by cop,” officials said Monday.
The suspect, Juan David Ortiz, 35, knew all four of the victims he allegedly killed and had gained their trust over a period of time before luring each of them to the outskirts of Laredo, Texas, and shooting them in the head, Chief Federico Garza of the Webb County Sheriff’s Office said during a news conference.