Texas authorities have arrested a Border Patrol officer they are calling a “serial killer.”
Juan David Ortiz, 32, confessed to murdering four women since Sept. 3, according to affidavits from the Webb County District Attorney’s office obtained by VICE News. Ortiz is a 10-year veteran of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and worked in intelligence, the Washington Post reported.
According to an affidavit, Ortiz killed his first victim on Sept. 3 when he drove a woman named Melissa Ramirez outside Laredo, Texas city limits and shot her in the head several times on the side of a rural road. The second murder happened on Sept. 13 when Ortiz shot another woman, Claudine Ann Luera, multiple times in the head, also on the side of a road. Ortiz left both women's bodies on the ground.
Then, on Friday Sept. 14, Ortiz picked up another woman in Laredo, named Erika Pena. He later pulled a gun on her and ripped off her shirt when she tried to escape from his car at a gas station. Pena escaped and found a state trooper nearby. By the time authorities found Ortiz in a hotel parking lot in the early hours of Saturday morning, he had killed two more women, both shot in the head on the sides of rural roads outside Laredo.
All five women Ortiz attacked were sex workers, according to Webb County-Zapata County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz, the Post reported. Alaniz said he also believed that Ortiz acted alone while off duty.
Ortiz is being charged with four counts of murder, one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and one count of unlawful restraint. He is being held at the Webb County Jail on $2.5 million bond.
In a statement, CBP said the agency is complying with the investigation. “Our sincerest condolences go out to the victims’ family and friends. While it is CBP policy to not comment on the details of an ongoing investigation, criminal action by our employees is not, and will not be tolerated. Out of respect to the victims’ family and friends, we ask that deference and due process be given to the investigation so that all the facts are brought to light and they can receive the closure they deserve.”
Cover: Law enforcement officers gather near the scene where the body of a woman was found near Interstate 35 north of Laredo, Texas on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. (Danny Zaragoza/The Laredo Morning Times via AP)