Webb County Sheriff's Office
Juan David Ortiz
On Saturday, a U.S. Border Patrol agent was arrested on suspicion of killing four women, including a transgender woman, after a fifth victim escaped and notified authorities, who called the agent a serial killer.
Juan David Ortiz, a nine-year veteran of the agency, was caught by state troopers in Laredo
early Saturday morning. During a press conference that day, Webb Country Sheriff Martin Cuellar said the department has "very strong evidence"
that Ortiz is responsible for the execution-style murders.
Isidro Alaniz, the county's district attorney, declined to share information on the victims at the press conference, but arrest documents
reveal that three of the victims, all of whom were sex workers, knew each other.
According to the documents
, Ortiz confessed to the four murders that occurred within two weeks. Ortiz told authorities that he picked up a woman named Melissa Ramirez in Laredo and drove outside of city limits on September 3. He later stopped the car so Ramirez could urinate on the side of the road. Ortiz then shot the woman in the back of the head
and left her there. Sheriff's deputies found her body after someone reported seeing a body.
Ten days later, Ortiz said he picked up Claudine Ann Luera and drove out of the city. He said the woman accused him of being the last person to see Ramirez. Her suspicion caused Ortiz to pull over and shoot Luera multiple times in the head
. A truck driver discovered her still alive and called authorities, but Luera died at the hospital.
The next day, on September 14, Ortiz said he picked up a woman and took her to his house. Erika Pena, who was able to escape
, told authorities that Ortiz was acting "weird" when she brought up Ramirez's death. She later became sick and vomited on Ortiz's front yard before he took her to a gas station. During the drive there, Pena brought up Ramirez's murder again, causing Ortiz to point a handgun at her
The woman was able to escape,
and got the attention of a state trooper. Ortiz was arrested the next day and voluntarily confessed to the murders. In the time between the woman's escape and Ortiz's capture, the agent killed two more women
One of the last two victims was a transgender woman who authorities referred to as "John Doe." Family identified the victim as Humberto Ortiz, who was found dead in a gravel pit
Sheriff Alaniz said his department is still working to determine a motive
for Ortiz's spree.
Ortiz is facing multiple charges
: four counts of murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful restraint. He's being held in lieu of a $2.5 million bond.
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