- The Border Patrol agent suspected of murdering four women and abducting a fifth may have used his law-enforcement position to monitor the police investigation, authorities said.
- Juan David Ortiz, an intelligence supervisor, likely had access to information showing that in the early stages of the murder investigation, police were looking for a vehicle that looked nothing like his.
- Authorities also said Ortiz probably used his service weapon to commit the alleged murders, since casings found at the murder scenes matched the standard agency-issued gun.
The Texas man accused of killing four women and abducting a fifth likely used not only his government-issued weapon to commit the murders, but also his Border Patrol job to monitor the police investigation into their deaths, authorities told USA Today.
Juan David Ortiz, a Border Patrol intelligence supervisor, was arrested September 15, one day after a woman escaped his vehicle and alerted authorities.
Authorities said they believe Ortiz to be a “serial killer.” He’s charged with murdering 29-year-old Melissa Ramirez, 42-year-old Claudine Ann Luera, 35-year-old Griselda Alicia Hernandez, and 28-year-old Nikki Enriquez, all in the Laredo area.
Webb County Sheriff Chief Federico Garza told USA Today that investigative information about the murders had likely crossed Ortiz’s desk, since local police often share information with Border Patrol and other law-enforcement agencies.
For instance, Ortiz likely knew that authorities were off his trail after Ramirez was murdered on September 3. Police began searching for a black truck or black Cadillac, whereas Ortiz drove a white Dodge Ram.
“We strongly do believe that Ortiz was ahead of us because of the information that we were providing,” Garza said. “He knew what we were looking for. He knew that we were off him and looking in other areas. He knew all these things.”
Police eventually captured Ortiz one day after a woman fled his truck at a gas station and flagged down a state trooper, alleging that Ortiz had pulled a gun on her.
The woman, 26-year-old Erika Peña, told police that Ortiz had originally hired her for sex, but appeared to grow angry when she mentioned one of the murder victims she had been friends with.
Authorities found a stockpile of firearms at Ortiz’s home as they were conducting their manhunt, but they believe that the gun Ortiz allegedly used in the murders was his service weapon, District Attorney Isidro Alaniz told USA Today.
He said authorities found .40-calibre casings at the scene of each murder, matching the same .40-calibre HK P2000 semi-automatic pistol that Border Patrol issues to its agents.
Customs and Border Protection, the agency overseeing the US Border Patrol, said in a previous statement it was fully cooperating with investigators.
“Our sincerest condolences go out to the victims’ family and friends,” a spokesman said. “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.”
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