border patrol murder

Customers & Border Patrol

U.S. Border Patrol agent accused of grisly serial murder spree

The spree left four women, including a transgender woman, dead.


Joseph Knoop


Posted on Sep 16, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 6:24 am CDT

After a nearly two-week spree that ended Saturday, a U.S. Border Patrol agent has been arrested and accused of murdering four women and kidnapping a fifth.

In a report by the Texas Tribune, Webb County-Zapata County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz said that Juan David Ortiz, who worked as an intel supervisor for Border Patrol, attempted to flee from state troopers after his fifth intended victim managed to escape and alert local authorities. Authorities found him hiding in a truck near a hotel in Laredo, Texas, which is on the western face of Texas’ southern tip.

“He picked [the fifth woman] up, she went willingly with him, and then while she was with him, things started to get dangerous for her; and when she tried to escape from him at a gas station that’s when she ran into a trooper,” Alaniz said to the Texas Tribune. “In our opinion, he is the sole person responsible for this horrific serial killing spree.”

Alaniz said that Ortiz has killed four women since Sept. 3, including one transgender woman, and that all five were sex workers. Two of the victims were U.S. citizens, while the others’ nationalities are not known, he added.

The Texas Tribune was provided documents by the Webb County District Attorney’s office that detailed the fifth woman’s account of escaping from Ortiz.

In the document, Erika Pena is described as approaching an officer after Ortiz pointed a gun at her when she tried to flee his Dodge truck. “Erika stated David began to act weird when she began to speak about Melissa, a female she knew who had been discovered dead the week before,” a criminal complaint stated. Pena struggled and eventually managed to flee when the two stopped at a gas station.

“David grabbed her shirt to prevent her from exiting the vehicle. Erika began to scream for help. Erika pulled off her shirt allowing her to escape and run away from the vehicle,” the complaint said.

After Pena alerted authorities and gave details on Ortiz’s residence, a manhunt ensued.

An arrest affidavit stated that Ortiz provided officers with details on meeting at least one of the women, Melissa Ramirez, on Sept. 3. Ortiz drove the pair outside city limits, stopped so he could urinate, and later proceeded to use a handgun to shoot Ramirez multiple times in the head, the document stated according to the Tribune.

The document stated a similar sequence of events for the Sept. 13 murder of Claudine Ann Luera and the Sept. 15 murder of a woman identified as “Jane Doe.” Later the same day, an individual identified as “John Doe,” drove beyond city limits and fired a weapon into each victims’ head.

“There’s nothing that suggested that [Ortiz] did this under the cover of authority or the law,” Alaniz said to the Tribune.

According to Alaniz, authorities plan to charge Ortiz with aggravated kidnapping and murder. Alaniz also added that his office will seek four first-degree murder indictments against Ortiz.

“It’s super unfortunate and tragic,” Alaniz said. “It’s not a reflection of Border Patrol, they do a great job protecting our borders, they’re super professional, and the work they do is important.”

Despite Alaniz’ claims, the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE) have become increasingly controversial law enforcement groups in recent years. The Daily Dot’s Samantha Grasso recently spoke with the child who became infamous for crying out for her mother in a secretly recorded audio clip taken from an ICE detention facility. The government is also looking into using “Reaper” drones along the border. Reaper drones are currently being used for bombing runs in Afghanistan.

H/T Texas Tribune

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*First Published: Sep 16, 2018, 11:45 am CDT