Sheriff: Border Patrol agent suspected of killing 4 women

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. (AP)
Updated 16 September 2018
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Sheriff: Border Patrol agent suspected of killing 4 women

  • Investigators have “very strong evidence” that he is responsible for the deaths of the four women, who are believed to worked as prostitutes
  • The manner in which they were killed is similar in all the cases from the evidence

HOUSTON: A US Border Patrol agent suspected of killing four women was arrested early Saturday after a fifth woman who had been abducted managed to escape from him and notify authorities, law enforcement officials said, describing the agent as a “serial killer.”
Juan David Ortiz, an intel supervisor for the Border Patrol, fled from state troopers and was found hiding in a truck in a hotel parking lot in Laredo at around 2 a.m. Saturday, Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar said at a news conference in the border city about 145 miles (235 kilometers) southwest of San Antonio.
Cuellar said investigators have “very strong evidence” that he is responsible for the deaths of the four women, who are believed to worked as prostitutes.
“We do consider this to be a serial killer,” said Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz.
In a statement, Andrew Meehan, assistant commissioner for public affairs for US Customs and Border Protection, said his agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility, the US Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General are fully cooperating with all investigators.
“Our sincerest condolences go out to the victims’ family and friends. While it is CBP policy to not comment on the details of an ongoing investigation, criminal action by our employees is not, and will not be tolerated,” Meehan said.
He referred questions about the investigation to authorities in Webb County and to the Texas Department of Public Safety, whose Texas Rangers are also investigating.
A Texas Department of Public Safety sergeant didn’t return several messages seeking comment on Saturday. Authorities didn’t immediately disclose the victims’ names or nationalities. “The manner in which they were killed is similar in all the cases from the evidence,” said Alaniz. But both Alaniz and Cuellar declined to discuss the evidence or say how the women were killed. Alaniz said investigators are still trying to determine a motive for the killings. He said all of the women worked as prostitutes.
Cuellar said investigators believe Ortiz acted alone. Alaniz said his office plans to charge Ortiz with four counts of murder and one count of aggravated kidnapping.
Authorities planned to provide another update on the investigation on Monday.


Rebel attack in Congo Ebola zone kills 18

Congolese police patrols in Kinshasa, Congo, in this May 17, 2017 file photo. (AP)
Updated 24 September 2018
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Rebel attack in Congo Ebola zone kills 18

  • The attack underscores the challenges the government and health organizations face in tackling Ebola in an area where years of instability has undermined locals’ confidence in the authorities

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo: At least 14 civilians and four soldiers were killed on Saturday in a six-hour attack by rebels on the town of Beni in eastern Congo, the army and local officials said, disrupting efforts to contain an Ebola epidemic in the area.
The latest outbreak of the deadly disease in Democratic Republic of Congo has been focused in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, which have been a tinder box of armed rebellion and ethnic killing since two civil wars in the late 1990s.
Militants believed to belong to the Allied Democratic Forces, a Ugandan Islamist group active in eastern Congo, clashed with Congolese troops in Beni, a town of several hundred thousand people, local civil society leader Kizito Bin Hangi said by telephone.
“Beni is ungovernable this morning. Several protests have been declared in the town where the people express their anger with consternation,” he said.
In addition to the known fatalities, dozens of civilians were wounded as they fled the violence, which broke out in the early hours of Saturday evening and lasted until midnight, Bin Hangi added.
During a news conference in Beni on Sunday, a representative of the Congolese army said four soldiers had also been killed in the attack.
Spokesman Mak Hazukay confirmed the civilian death toll of 14, but said six civilians and four military personnel had been wounded — lower figures than estimated by the civil society leader.
The attack underscores the challenges the government and health organizations face in tackling Ebola in an area where years of instability has undermined locals’ confidence in the authorities.
Community unrest in the wake of the latest violence prompted the Health Ministry to suspend temporarily the field work it has been carrying out in Beni as part of its Ebola response.
“Many inhabitants of the town of Beni took to the streets this Sunday to protest against the growing insecurity in the zone. The field work of the response will resume once calm returns to the town,” the ministry said in its daily Ebola report.
The latest outbreak, which causes haemmorhagic fever, vomiting and diarrhea, is believed to have killed 99 people since July and infected another 48.