Border Patrol agent charged in 2-week killing spree


The fourth body was reported discovered just after 12pm this afternoon along I-35 just north of Laredo. Authorities are still trying to determine a motive for the killings. The hunt for Ortiz began on Friday, when a woman reached out to police claiming she was snatched by a man and managed to escape.The woman provided police with a detailed description of the subject, including his tattoos, Webb County District Attorney Isidro R. Alaniz told CNN's affiliate KGNS-TV.

Ortiz, a 10-year Border Patrol veteran, was arrested early Saturday after the fifth woman escaped and found a state trooper. So far only two victims were identified: one was Melissa Ramirez, a 29-year-old woman from Laredo, and Claudia Anne Luera, 42, who was found on a Highway 255 alive and died in hospital.

A Border Patrol truck near the Mexican border in California.

"This case broke open yesterday with an aggravated kidnapping that led to a lookout for a suspect, in this case Ortiz, so he will be looking at charges of aggravated kidnapping", Alaniz said. All of the victims were prostitutes, officials said.

"The manner in which they were killed is similar in all the cases from the evidence", said Alaniz.

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Despite withholding information surrounding the killings, including the victims' identities, Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar said investigators have "very strong evidence" that Ortiz is responsible for the deaths of the four women.

"At this time we believe the suspect was acting alone", Alaniz said, describing Ortiz as a supervisory agent who had worked as a Border Patrol agent for a decade.

Ortiz, Chapa said, was picked up in the early hours along Interstate 35 in Laredo.

"Our sincerest condolences go out to the victims' family and friends", Meehan said. Police say all his female victims were prostitutes. He said it was the agency's policy to not comment on details of a current investigation, but added, "criminal action by our employees is not, and will not be tolerated". We also spoke about hiring more Professional Responsibility officers so that they can police their own.

The Texas Rangers, along with the Webb County Sheriff's office, launched an investigation after Melissa Ramirez, 29, a mother of two, was found slain September 4.