U.S. Border Patrol agent suspected of killing four women, kidnapping another

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LAREDO, Texas. (WAND) — A U.S. Border Patrol agent suspected of killing four prostitutes was arrested early Saturday after a fifth woman managed to escape from him and notify the authorities, law enforcement officials said, describing the agent as a “serial killer.”

Juan David Ortiz, an intel supervisor for the Border Patrol, fled from state troopers and was found hiding in a hotel parking lot in Laredo at around 2 a.m. Saturday, Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar said at a news conference in the border city about 145 miles (235 kilometers) southwest of San Antonio. He said investigators have “very strong evidence” that he is responsible for the deaths of the four women.

The county’s district attorney, Isidro Alaniz, described Ortiz as a serial killer. Authorities didn’t disclose the victims’ names or nationalities and they declined to discuss the evidence or say how the women were killed. 

Alaniz said investigators are still trying to determine a motive for the killings. He said all of the women worked as prostitutes.

Starting nearly two weeks ago, local investigators were trying to find a killer of women whose bodies were found in the border county that abuts the Rio Grande.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection assistant commissioner for public affairs Andrew Meehan said in a statement that Ortiz is a supervisory agent. "There are charges pending related to multiple homicides in the Laredo area," he said.

He did not discuss if the agency has taken disciplinary action but said CBP's Office of Professional Responsibility was cooperating with investigators. "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," Meehan said.

NBC News reached out to the Webb County public defender's office and did not get a response on whether Ortiz has legal representation.

Cuellar said Ortiz is a 10-year veteran with Border Patrol. He was detained overnight Friday before being formally arrested in connection with the alleged kidnapping, the sheriff, speaking at a news conference, said.

However, a search of Webb County inmate records did not show Ortiz in custody.

District Attorney Alaniz told reporters, "There is probable cause that this individual is responsible for this series of murders which qualify as a serial murder [case]."

He said his office plans to charge Ortiz with four counts of murder and one count of aggravated kidnapping.

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