Juan David Ortiz, a supervisory Border Patrol agent and Navy veteran, confessed to four killings, authorities said.

Juan David Ortiz, a supervisory Border Patrol agent and Navy veteran, confessed to four killings, authorities said. (Webb County Sheriff's Office)

AUSTIN, Texas — For nearly eight years, accused serial killer Juan David Ortiz served as a corpsman in the Navy at installations in Texas and California, according to his service record.

Ortiz, 35, was arrested Saturday and charged with murdering four women in Laredo, Texas, where he has worked as a Border Patrol agent for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He is now in Webb County Jail with a bond of more than $2.5 million, according to online jail records.

He enlisted in July 2001, and after six months of training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill., and Navy Medicine Training Support Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, was stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif., according to information from the Navy Personnel Command.

A few months later, Ortiz was sent to the 1st Marine Division Detachment at Twentynine Palms, Calif., where he spent the next three years. While this unit was involved in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Ortiz’s released service ribbons do not indicate that he participated. If he deployed on a temporary assignment, it likely would not be included in his releasable service assignments.

In April 2005, Ortiz was sent to Navy Element, Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute Detachment at Fort Sam Houston for three years. This institute trains Army, Navy and Air Force professionals in trauma care, burn care, joint medical operations, disaster preparedness, humanitarian assistance and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear preparation and response.

Ortiz spent his final year in the Navy at the Fort Sam Houston’s Navy Medical Training Support Center. It is the administrative arm of the Navy’s medical programs in the San Antonio area.

He left the Navy in May 2009 at the rank of Petty Officer 2nd Class. His awards and decorations include the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal and the Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon. Twitter: @Rose_Lori

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Rose L. Thayer is based in Austin, Texas, and she has been covering the western region of the continental U.S. for Stars and Stripes since 2018. Before that she was a reporter for Killeen Daily Herald and a freelance journalist for publications including The Alcalde, Texas Highways and the Austin American-Statesman. She is the spouse of an Army veteran and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism. Her awards include a 2021 Society of Professional Journalists Washington Dateline Award and an Honorable Mention from the Military Reporters and Editors Association for her coverage of crime at Fort Hood.

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