A US Border Patrol supervisor has been charged with murder over the deaths of four female sex workers following an alleged two-week killing spree.
Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz said in a tweet 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, a 10-year Border Patrol veteran, was arrested early on Saturday after a fifth woman who had been abducted managed to escape and notify authorities.
The suspect fled and was found hiding in a truck in a hotel parking lot in Laredo, about 145 miles 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.
DA’s Office reports Juan David Ortiz, BP agent has been arrested for a series of murders & charged with aggravated assault, unlawful restraint & 4 cts of murder. We will continue working diligently w/ WCSO, DPS & Texas Rangers during this investigation.— Isidro R. Alaniz (@WebbZapataDA) September 16, 2018
“When she tried to escape from him at a gas station that’s when she ran into a (state) trooper,” he said.
He added that authorities believed Ortiz had killed all four women since September 3. 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.
- Press Association