A former Texas border patrol officer is facing the death penalty following an indictment by a grand jury on Wednesday. Prosecutors allege that agent, David Ortiz, murdered four women throughout two weeks in September. Authorities say Ortiz is a serial killer that preyed on vulnerable individuals in the community that he believed were disposable.
District Attorney Isidro R. Alaniz said in a news conference yesterday that David murdered four women and attempted to kill a 5th victim in September. Alaniz said the grand jury returned an incident on one count of capital murder.
Back in September, Texas authorities discovered bodies in the border county that butts up to the Rio Grande. The women were all found dumped on the side of highways.
Reports by local news in Texas stated the women that Ortiz targeted were all sex workers. According to a report on KGNS, Ortiz solicited the women for prostitution. However, instead of engaging in the sexual acts with the women and letting them go, he killed them by shooting them in the head.
Autopsies completed on the victims indicated that three died from “head injury trauma” from a bullet. The fourth victim was shot in the neck and died from blunt force trauma to her head. The autopsy determined the victim’s murders occurred between September 3rd and September 14th.
Following the autopsy, authorities released the names of the victims. The victims were Melissa Ramirez, 29, Claudine Ann Luera, 42, Guiselda Alicia Hernandez, 35, and Janelle Ortiz, 28, a transgender woman whose birth name was Humberto (Ortiz’s identity took longer to confirm as authorities initially searched under her birth name).
After an attempted 5th victim escaped from Ortiz’s car on September 14th, the victim reported the crime to local police. The victim told police that the name of the man that attempted to kidnap her was David. She told authorities she knew of him before the crime.
During the victim’s interview with police, she told them she confronted David about the death of Melissa, the first victim, at his house. After she questioned David, he drove them to a gas station. When they pulled into the gas station, the victim was able to escape from David.
Unfortunately, between the time the victim reported the crime to authorities, and when police arrested David, he killed the final two victims.
Police say the victims were killed within an hour of the 5th victim escaping. At least two of the victims knew David by name, but authorities did not elaborate on their relationship.
At 2 am on September 15th, police found David hiding at a local hotel parking lot in a truck. They arrested him for the murders.
While in questioning, court affidavits say that Ortiz confessed to the murders of the victims. They learned that Ortiz was a 10-year veteran with the border patrol. He also served in the United States Navy.
Through search warrants, police discovered an arsenal of weapons at his home. They also discovered messages that David wrote on Facebook that police believe were goodbye messages. David wrote the updates only hours after the 5th victim escaped.
One message said, “To my wife and kids, I love u,” and the other stated, “Doc Ortiz checks out. Farewell.”
Based on the number of guns, ammunition, and messages posted on Facebook, authorities believed Ortiz wanted to commit suicide by cop. Thankfully, police arrested Ortiz without incident.
After a lengthy investigation, prosecutors presented the case a Texas grand jury this month. Even though Ortiz committed four murders and one attempted murder, District Attorney Isidro R. Alaniz opted to charge Ortiz with one count of capital murder. The grand jury returned an indictment on the charge on Wednesday, December 5th.
When reporters questioned Alaniz about the single count of capital murder, Alaniz explained that the crimes were committed as a part of a scheme by David Ortiz.
Prosecutors say Ortiz developed a scheme to rid the community of individuals that he believed to be disposable and undesirable. Ortiz specifically targeted women that were sex workers and involved with drugs.
District Attorney Isidro R. Alaniz said,
“A person commits capital murder if the person intentionally or knowingly causes the death of more than one individual during different criminal transactions but pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct.”
“The scheme in this case from Ortiz’s own words was to clean up the streets of Laredo by targeting this community of individuals who he perceived to be disposable, that no one would miss and that he did not give value to,” he said.
“Because of the horrific nature of the murders, his complete disregard for human life, his vigilante mentality.”
“He violated his oath to his country and to his agency,” he continued.
“She doesn’t want people to see her as a hero,” Rodriguez said. “We want the (community) to see her as another victim who escaped. That she is alive … It’s sad to see her now. The way she is. She is pretty traumatized.”
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