Former Laredo Border Patrol Agent Accused in Multiple Murders
LAREDO – A former Border Patrol agent who works as an intel supervisor in the Laredo sector confessed to four killings in Laredo. The killing spree took place over the span of two weeks.
Juan David Ortiz, 35, is charged with killing three women, a man and kidnapping a woman who later escaped.
Ortiz is charged with four counts of murder, one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful restraint. He's held in the Webb County jail with a combined bond of $2.5 million.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS received the warrants and affidavits related to all the cases. This is what they report:
On Sept. 14, 9:00 p.m. a female victim showed up shirtless to ask for help from a Department Public Safety trooper who was at a gas station on the 600 block of Crossroads.
She reported Ortiz picked her up along San Bernardo and took her to his residence in San Isidro Subdivision.
The victim and Ortiz spoke about a previous victim known to both. The victim became sick and vomited in the front yard. They left the residence in Ortiz' truck and stopped at a gas station at the corner of Loop 20 and McPherson Road.
The conversation about the deceased victim resurfaced. Ortiz is said to have pulled out a pistol and pointed it at the victim.
He pulled at her shirt to prevent the victim from leaving. The victim pulled her shirt off and escaped from the vehicle. That's when she approached the trooper who was refueling at the gas station.
The victim was interrogated by a Texas Ranger. Information provided included Ortiz' residence and personal vehicle. With investigators in tow, the victim identified the San Isidro Ranch residence.
The property was searched and a “lookout” advisory on the vehicle shared via radio dispatch at 12:07 a.m., Sept. 15.
At 1:02 a.m., troopers located the vehicle and Ortiz at a gas station near San Bernardo Avenue and Jefferson Street. When he was approached, Ortiz fled on foot.
At 2:30 a.m., Ortiz was found hiding in the parking garage of a local hotel at 800 block of Garden Street. He was arrested for evading detention.
Ortiz was taken in for questioning before the Texas Rangers and the Webb County Sheriff Captain.
During the interview, Ortiz confessed to aggravated assault of a woman and four homicides registered from Sept. 3 through Sept. 15.
On Sept. 3, Ortiz picked up a woman later identified as Melissa Ramirez along San Bernardo. He drove out of Laredo city limits to Jefferies Road off FM 255.
According to Ortiz, Ramirez stepped outside the vehicle to relieve herself. That's when Ortiz shot her multiple times in the head. Her body was discovered after a report of a body found along the road was called into the Webb County Sheriff's Office.
On Sept. 13, Ortiz picked up a woman, later identified as Claudine Ann Luera, along San Bernardo and traveled outside city limit to FM 255, east of Highway 83.
Luera accused Ortiz of being the last person to have been seen with the first victim, Ramirez. She exited the vehicle. Ortiz followed. He shot Luera several times in the head. Luera's body was discovered by a truck driver. She was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
On Sept. 14, Ortiz picked up a woman near San Bernardo Avenue. The victim got away, as previously detailed.
After the victim escaped, Ortiz picked up another woman, Jane Doe, near San Bernardo Avenue.
Ortiz again drove out of city limits towards I-35. At the Webb County interchange overpass, by Mile Marker 20 on IH-35, Ortiz told Jane Doe to exit the vehicle. Ortiz then shot her several times in the head.
That same night, Sept. 15, Ortiz picked up an unknown man, John Doe, near San Bernardo Avenue.
Ortiz drove out of city limits toward Mile Marker 15 on IH-35. Ortiz instructed John Doe to leave the vehicle and shot him once in the back of the head.
His body was found after Ortiz told authorities body was behind gravel pits on Mile Marker 15 on IH-35. DPS later found a single spent casing near the body.
Border Patrol states their Office of Professional Responsibility and Border Patrol is cooperating with investigators.
The Office of Inspector General has been notified and is working with investigators as well.
They sent a statement which reads in part,
"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. Out of respect to the victims’ family and friends, we ask that deference and due process be given to the investigation so that all the facts are brought to light and they can receive the closure they deserve.”
Congressman Henry Cuellar addressed reassessment of border patrol hiring protocol in a statement he released late Saturday. It reads in part:
"Just this afternoon I spoke with CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan to talk about the situation in Laredo. We have agreed to work together on the hiring and professionalism of border patrol agents. We spoke about how more steps need to be taken to make certain that people who want to become Border Patrol agents receive the appropriate psychological screening to ensure that no person who is capable of these type of actions is allowed to join or remain in the ranks. We also spoke about hiring more Professional Responsibility officers so that they can police their own. … As a member of the House Appropriations subcommittee for Homeland Security, I will be asking my colleagues to help me secure additional resources to address the above issues."
Ortiz is a veteran and has been working with the Border Patrol for 10 years.
DPS is leading the investigation with the help of the Webb County Sheriff's Office.
This is the second Border Patrol agent implicated in six deaths in the Laredo sector this year. A mother and child in April and now four Laredoans.