Who was behind the Laredo serial killings? NBC’s ‘Dateline’ to release episode investigating murder spree targeting sex workers

LAREDO, TEXAS: The state of Texas held its breath for weeks when multiple women were found dead on roadsides in 2018. However, It was soon discovered that a Border Patrol agent named Juan David Ortiz was the one on a hateful killing spree.

Four women sex workers were killed in a similar fashion over a span of a few days in the city of Laredo.

NBC ‘Dateline’ will be investigating this case in their first new episode after their summer rerun hiatus on Friday, September 15.

The episode called ‘The Streets of Laredo’ will air on the channel at 9 pm ET.

Who were the victims of the Laredo killings?

The victims of the Laredo killings were all sex workers who were said to have been picked up by Ortiz and were eventually found dead.

Ortiz frequently visited Laredo’s prostitute blocks and paid for the services of the sex workers there.

Melissa Ramirez was the first victim in the serial killings of Juan Ortiz (KSAT 12/YouTube)
Melissa Ramirez was Juan Ortiz’s first victim  (KSAT 12/YouTube)


His first victim was 29-year-old Melissa Ramirez, who was found dead close to a dirt road with three bullet wounds on September 3, 2018.

When the investigation behind the killing was in process, Ortiz was also with the team that traced the cars in the area for possible suspects.

Later on September 13, another body of a 42-year-old woman named Claudine Luera was discovered, again on the side of a dirt road.

She was similarly shot in the head, and with the same .40 bullet that Ramirez was shot with. Her body was found less than two miles away from the previous crime scene.


After the two killings, on September 14, Ortiz’s third potential target Erika Pena managed to escape.

He had followed the same process of taking the women home and then shooting them. But when he tried to do the same with Pena, she managed to save herself.

Fortunately for her, there was a trooper nearby whom she could approach for help.

Juan David Ortiz killed more people despite being identified

Although Ortiz had run away, the investigators were able to identify him through Pena’s description of his house.

Ortiz went on to kill one more sex worker as he picked up 35-year-old Guiselda Hernandez from San Bernardo and brutally killed her as well.

Juan David Ortiz was convicted for killing 4 sex workers in the city of Laredo (Law&Crime Network/YouTube)
Juan David Ortiz was convicted of killing 4 sex workers in the city of Laredo (Law & Crime Network/YouTube)


Right after the third killing, he picked up Janelle Ortiz, a 28-year-old transgender sex worker in the same manner and shot her in the head after driving on the interstate.

He was going to continue his spree but a trooper managed to spot him and had him on the run.

To save himself from the punishment, Ortiz tried to kill himself but was soon caught by the investigators.

Later, Ortiz confessed to the murders, saying that he wanted to put an end to prostitution in San Bernado and that “eradicating” the sex workers was his solution.


After multiple trials, one of which had Ortiz pleading not guilty and the others were he confessed to his crimes, he was convicted of the four murders and imprisoned for life on December 7, 2022.

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