A US Border Patrol agent who authorities are calling a serial killer was arrested Saturday in the deaths of four people after a would-be fifth victim narrowly escaped harm and alerted a police officer. Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz classified Ortiz as a serial killer on Saturday.
Ortiz was captured after a potential victim escaped from his vehicle, investigators said.
But both Alaniz and Cuellar declined to discuss the evidence or say how the women were killed.
"We have very strong evidence that he is the person who has been killing", Sheriff Cuellar said at a press conference posted on CNN affiliate KGNS's Facebook page.
Jail records don't list an attorney to speak for Ortiz, a 35-year-old agent from Laredo. The fourth appeared to be a transgender woman, but authorities referred to her as John Doe. Eduardo Chapa spoke to reporters on behalf of the sheriff's office, revealing that the bodies of four women were attributed to Ortiz's attacks.
The last body was found Saturday after Ortiz told officers where to look. He is charged with four counts of murder, as well as of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful restraint.
The victims in the Ortiz case were killed or left for dead in rural parts of Webb County, which borders the Rio Grande.
The victims were shot in the head, according to an affidavit.
At least two were US citizens; the nationalities of the others were not known and investigators are still working to determine a motive.
Authorities say the violence took place over 11 days, beginning with the September 4 discovery of the remains of 29-year-old Melissa Ramirez.
Ayala has lived in the South Texas city her entire life, and said she didn't expect something like the serial murders to happen there.
Ortiz is alleged to have acted alone. Laredo is about 150 miles southwest of San Antonio.
In a statement, Andrew Meehan, assistant commissioner for public affairs for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said his agency's Office of Professional Responsibility, the U.S. Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General are fully cooperating with all investigators.
Detectives asked him to do "the right thing", Alaniz said.