LAREDO, Texas – A supervisor for the U.S. Border Patrol in Laredo killed a woman with whom he was romantically involved and her 1-year-old child before calling 911 claiming to have discovered the bodies near a park in the border city, authorities said Tuesday.
Ronald Anthony Burgos Aviles, 28, is being held without bond in the Webb County Jail on two counts of capital murder.
Laredo police spokesman Joe Baeza said Burgos Aviles was identified as a person of interest within an hour of the 911 call Monday, but Baeza declined to elaborate.
Baeza said Grizelda Hernandez, 27, and her son, Dominick Alexander Hernandez, likely were killed Monday near the park, which is adjacent to the Rio Grande and just south of the World Trade Bridge that carries traffic between the U.S. and Mexico.
Burgos Aviles and the woman were in a romantic relationship, Baeza said. The investigation will determine if Dominick was Burgos Aviles' child.
"This isn't over," Baeza said. "This investigation is just barely getting started."
Authorities declined to provide the manner of death for the two.
Burgos Aviles was a nine-year veteran of the Border Patrol and had been promoted last year, Baeza said. He was suspended indefinitely from his job after the allegations surfaced.
Jason Owens, Border Patrol chief for the agency's Laredo sector, said at a news conference Tuesday that the deaths represent a "horrific tragedy."
"The actions of this individual, if true, are both inexcusable and reprehensible," Owens said. "No one is more sickened than we are at the thought of someone wearing this uniform committing such a heinous act."
Baeza said investigators are working to learn more about Burgos Aviles' relationship with Hernandez and many other aspects of the case, such as whether the suspect acted alone or had help.
Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz said it's too early to determine if prosecutors will seek the death penalty, adding that the case "is being given extreme priority."
The national chief provost of Customs and Border Protection issued the following statement:
“All of us at the U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are truly saddened and shocked by this horrific tragedy and loss of life. On behalf of the Border Patrol and CBP, I extend our heartfelt condolences to the victims’ family and friends.
"While it is CBP Policy not to comment on the details of an ongoing investigation, we do not tolerate criminal actions by any of our employees. We are fully cooperating with the Laredo Police Department’s investigation and stand ready to take any appropriate action in support of the case.
We mourn with our community but are doing everything in our power to ensure that the party responsible for this inexcusable and reprehensible crime is held accountable.”