Federal Agent Admits to Being Serial Killer Targeting Sex Workers

Remigio Civitarese
Settembre 19, 2018

Juan David Ortiz, fleeing police after a series of killings in Laredo, Tex., wanted to die, authorities said.

Webb County-Zapata County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz told The Texas Tribune that Juan David Ortiz, an intel supervisor for the Border Patrol, fled from state troopers after the fifth woman escaped and alerted law enforcement. Two of the four killings took place in the hours after the woman was able to escape but before police tracked him down.

Authorities said Ortiz tried to make his cellphone appear like a weapon in hopes of being shot by officers, but he was captured without incident around 2 am on Saturday. The mother of five died at a hospital later that day. Pena said that at one point, she mentioned Melissa Ramirez, a friend of hers who had been found dead a few days earlier, and that Ortiz began "acting weird".

On Friday, according to the affidavit, Ortiz picked up a woman named Erika Pena.

U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost echoed the sentiments and said Ortiz has been placed on unpaid suspension.

The 35-year-old worked for US Border Patrol for nearly 10 years, and went into work as normal throughout the two-week period.

CNN reports that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent was arrested when a fifth victim escaped an attempted kidnapping. A third victim was a 28-year-old transgender woman who authorities at a news conference identified as having the birth name Humberto Ortiz, but who reportedly was known as Janelle. Ortiz told police he picked her up September 3 near San Bernardo Avenue and drove her out to the edge of the city, where she exited his vehicle to urinate on the side of the road, the affidavit says. All four were shot in the head and left in a road in rural northwest Webb County.

Erika Pena approached a state trooper after she said Ortiz pointed a gun at her when she tried to escape from his vehicle, according to the documents.

Chief Deputy Garza said Ortiz "mentioned the dislike for the community. the victims represented" - presumably a reference to a comment made under police questioning.

All of Ortiz's victims worked in the sex trade, and while authorities say they are still working to determine a motive, he seems to have specifically targeted sex workers. The fourth victim, a transgendered female, was found later that day.

Ortiz was believed to have acted alone. He also said he spoke to US Customs and Border Protection Commission Kevin McAleenan about improving vetting for agents.

The Texas Department of Public Safety, whose Texas Rangers are investigating, referred questions on the case to the Webb County Sheriff's Office.

Jail records don't list an attorney to speak for Ortiz, who had worked for Border Patrol for 10 years.

Ortiz served in the U.S. Navy for almost eight years before being hired by Border Patrol.

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