Border Patrol agent charged with capital murder in Texas

Juan David Ortiz, 35-year-old intel supervisor with the Border Patrol, is charged with murder for the string of killings of four prostitutes. / Photo: Webb County Sheriff's Office / (MGN)
By  | 

LAREDO, Texas (AP) — A U.S. Border Patrol agent who confessed to killing four women and leaving their bodies on rural Texas roadsides has been charged with capital murder, and a prosecutor said Wednesday that he intends to seek the death penalty.

Juan David Ortiz told investigators that he killed the women — whom police have identified as sex workers — because he wanted "to clean up the streets of Laredo," and that he considered local law enforcement was doing an inadequate job, Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz said at a news conference.

Alaniz said prosecutors will seek the death penalty if Ortiz is found guilty.

Ortiz, 35, was initially charged with four counts of murder, as well as aggravated assault and unlawful restraint. He has been held in Webb County jail on a $2.5 million bond since his Sept. 15 arrest in the border town of Laredo.

Ortiz, a Border Patrol intel supervisor and Navy veteran, seemed to be living a typical suburban life with his wife and two children when the killings occurred. After the first slaying, he continued going to work as usual. He was eventually arrested after he pulled a gun on a woman who was able to escape and asked a state trooper for help.

Authorities have said Ortiz knew most of the victims and that he targeted them for their vulnerability. Melissa Ramirez, 29, was slain on Sept. 3, and 42-year-old Claudine Luera was killed on Sept. 13.

On Sept. 14, he picked up another woman, Erika Pena, who told investigators that Ortiz acted oddly when she brought up Ramirez's slaying and later pointed a gun at her in a gas station, according to court documents. Pena said Ortiz grabbed her shirt as she tried to get out of his truck, but she pulled it off and ran, finding a state trooper who was refueling his vehicle.

Ortiz fled and, he later told investigators, he then picked up and killed his last two victims — 35-year-old Guiselda Alicia Cantu and 28-year-old Janelle Ortiz, a transgender woman whose birth name was Humberto Ortiz.

With Pena's help, authorities were able to track Ortiz to a hotel parking garage where he was arrested.

According to court documents, Ortiz confessed to investigators that he had killed four people. All of the women killed had been shot, but one them died of blunt force trauma, Alaniz said Wednesday.



 
The comment sections of our web set are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from the viewers but we are not obligated to post comments we feel inappropriate or violate our guidelines. Here are some of the criteria you should follow when posting comments:

Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. Children and families visit this site. We will delete comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.

We will delete all comments using hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our web site.

Comments should not attack other readers personally.

We will delete comments we deem offensive, in bad taste, or out of bounds. We are not obligated to post comments that are rude or insensitive.

We do not edit user-submitted comments.

As a host WEAU 13 News welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However, we have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason WEAU 13 News reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.
powered by Disqus