A border patrol officer arrested on charges of murdering four women has entered a plea of ‘Not Guilty’ — but police say he admitted that he targeted people he considered to be “disposable,” who he thought wouldn’t be missed. A Navy veteran, Juan David Ortiz was arrested after allegedly injuring another woman, who says she managed to escape him.
According to Navy Times, the agent is believed to have specifically targeted sex workers, who would be vulnerable.
Laredo Morning Times lists the victims as Melissa Ramirez, Claudine Ann Luera, Guiselda Alicia Hernández, and Nikki Enriquez. (Enriquez is a transgender woman and was initially misidentified by a former name.)
The women were reportedly all picked up and driven outside city limits, where they were shot in the back of the head (or in the case of Hernandez, in the neck). District attorney Isidro Alaniz describes the murders as “cold, callous and calculating,” and says that though the women were killed while Ortiz was off-duty, he may have used his service revolver.
Arrest affidavits say that Ortiz admitted to the four murders, despite his current plea, and Alaniz says that Ortiz expressed a view that the women were disposable and of no value, going so far as to tell investigators that he was “doing a service” by killing them.
CNN reported at the time of the arrest that a would-be fifth victim was able to escape Ortiz’s clutches. The unnamed woman says that he grabbed her by her shirt and pointed a pistol at her, but she was able to slip out of the shirt and flee to a gas station, where she described Ortiz, including tattoos, to a police officer.
Police took him into custody after a brief chase, and connected him to four bodies found over a two-week period in September.
DA Alaniz is calling Ortiz a serial killer who hunted for victims fitting a specific profile. Border Patrol promised cooperation with the investigation, and released a statement asserting that criminal action by their employees is not tolerated.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com