The Latest: Council member calls women’s deaths a hate crime
LAREDO, Texas (AP) — The Latest on the deaths of four women who authorities say were killed by a Border Patrol agent (all times local):
An elected leader in a South Texas city rocked by a string of brutal killings says the deaths of four women is a hate crime and that the case should be a call to action for the community.
Laredo City Councilwoman Nelly Vielma, the only woman on the governing panel, helped to organize a prayer vigil for the victims’ family members, friends and others Wednesday at an arts complex in the city.
The complex sits along one of Laredo’s more famous avenues, where authorities say Border Patrol supervisor Juan David Ortiz is accused of picking the women up, taking them to remote spots beyond city limits and shooting them.
Vielma said it’s a case of “femicide” and a violation of the public’s trust.
Ortiz faces four counts of murder. He also has been charged with aggravated assault and unlawful restraint of a fifth woman who escaped and alerted authorities. Vielma called that woman a hero.
The women who were allegedly killed by a Border Patrol supervisor in Texas led difficult lives. But their families say they dreamed of happier days ahead.
One fantasized that she would someday be famous. Another hoped to get off the streets and off of drugs. All four met similar fates. They were shot in the head and left by the roadside.
The suspect, Border Patrol supervisor Juan David Ortiz, has been described as a serial killer. His motive remains unknown.
Authorities say the three women, and a fourth whose name was released Wednesday, were sex workers, and that Ortiz knew some of them.
Relatives are now grieving. They say their loved ones were more than the hardships they endured.