Authorities say a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent in Texas has been arrested on suspicion of having killed four women and abducted a fifth.
"This case broke open yesterday with an aggravated kidnapping and then a lookout for a suspect, in this case Ortiz", said Isidro R. "Chilo" Alaniz, Webb County district attorney.
Law enforcement officers gather near the scene where the body of a woman was found near Interstate 35 north of Laredo, Texas on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. According to the Morning Times report, state police located Ortiz at a Laredo gas station, and chased him when he immediately took off running - only to quickly find him inside a pickup truck in a nearby hotel parking lot.
"The county, the city can rest assured we have the serial killer in custody", Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar added. Deputies detained the agent following a two-week murder investigation following the discovery of the bodies of two women the agent is accused of killing, KGNS reported on Saturday. His known victims were all believed to have worked as prostitutes, and according to a CBS News report, investigators have not ruled out the possibility of more victims. It is believed Ortiz targeted these women and acted alone.
Two of his victims were identified on Saturday by local news sources. Alaniz says authorities consider Ortiz a serial killer. The sheriff described the veteran Border Patrol agent as a "serial killer". Luera was found still alive but in critical condition Thursday near a stretch of Texas Highway 255, but she died at a hospital. The body of a 29-year-old mother-of-two was found on 4 September, the Laredo Times said.
Investigators in the latest death case in Laredo have revealed the name of the victim.
"When she tried to escape from him at a gas station, that's when she ran into a [state] trooper", Mr Alaniz said.
"Out of respect for 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".
Ortiz, Cuellar said, spent 10 years as an agent with the US Border Patrol.
The Laredo Police Department issued a statement about the arrest to calm fear in the community.