US police believe border patrol worker is a ‘serial killer’

Juan David Ortiz (35) charged over deaths of four women in Texas since September 3rd

Texas police  officers gather near the scene where a woman’s  body was found near Interstate 35 north of Laredo, Texas on Saturday. Photograph: Danny Zaragoza/The Laredo Morning Times via AP.

Texas police officers gather near the scene where a woman’s body was found near Interstate 35 north of Laredo, Texas on Saturday. Photograph: Danny Zaragoza/The Laredo Morning Times via AP.

 

A US Border Patrol supervisor has been charged over the murders of four female sex workers following an alleged two-week killing spree.

Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz said that Juan David Ortiz (35), an intel supervisor for the Border Patrol, had been charged with four counts of murder as well as aggravated assault and unlawful restraint.

Ortiz, who has been in his role for a decade, was arrested early on Saturday after a fifth woman who had been abducted managed to escape and raise the alarm.

The suspect fled and was found hiding in a truck in a hotel parking lot in Laredo, about 240km south-west of San Antonio, Texas, authorities said.

“We do consider this to be a serial killer,” Mr Alaniz said.

He told The Texas Tribune that after Ortiz picked up the fifth woman she quickly realised she was in danger.

“When she tried to escape from him at a gas station that’s when she ran into a (state) trooper,” he said.

‘Manner’

He added that authorities believed Ortiz had killed all four women since September 3rd. The names of the victims were not immediately released.

“The manner in which they were killed is similar in all the cases from the evidence,” he said, but declined to say how they were killed.

Mr Alaniz said investigators were still trying to determine a motive for the killings.

US Customs and Border Protection issued a statement saying that it was fully cooperating 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,” the agency said.

The Texas Department of Public Safety, whose Texas Rangers are investigating, did not return several messages seeking comment. - AP