Podcast Summary

    • Murders in Laredo: A Dark Tale of Brutality and ComplexityIn Laredo, Texas, a series of brutal murders targeting women occurred in a high crime area, leaving loved ones and authorities grappling with the complexities of life in this border town.

      The streets of Laredo, Texas, were the setting for a series of brutal murders targeting women in the fall of 2018. The victims, including Melissa Ramirez, were found in a dangerous and often overlooked area of the city known for its high crime rate. Despite her past struggles with drugs and sex work, Melissa was remembered fondly by her loved ones as a kind and fun-loving person. The investigation into her murder led authorities to believe they were dealing with a ruthless and calculating killer. The case, which was reminiscent of the intriguing and often dark stories told by famous mystery writers, underscored the complexities and realities of life in this border town.

    • Persistence pays off in unsolved sex worker murdersA suspicious license plate number led investigators to a person of interest in the unsolved murder of a sex worker, highlighting the importance of pursuing all leads and collaborating with other agencies.

      The unsolved murders of sex workers can be challenging for investigators due to the nature of their work and the reluctance of their communities to cooperate. However, in the case of Melissa Ramirez, investigators in Laredo, Texas, pursued the case aggressively and received a significant lead when the residents who discovered her body jotted down the license plate number of a suspicious truck. This lead ultimately helped them identify a person of interest who was not initially suspected. Despite the challenges, the investigators' persistence and collaboration with other agencies ultimately led to progress in the case.

    • Laredo police officer Renee Arse questioned in Melissa Ramirez's murder investigationThe investigation into Melissa Ramirez's murder is ongoing, with no clear evidence linking a Laredo police officer or a customer to the crime. The police are continuing to follow leads and gather information from the community to solve the case.

      The investigation into Melissa Ramirez's murder in Laredo, Texas, led to the detention and questioning of a Laredo police officer, Renee Arse. Arse was at the scene with his truck, but there was no definitive evidence linking him to the crime. The investigation then followed a new lead about a suspicious man who had been with Melissa before her death. This man turned out to be a customer of Melissa's, but there was no concrete evidence to implicate him in the murder either. The investigation is still ongoing, and the police are continuing to follow leads and gather evidence. The case highlights the complexities and challenges of investigating a murder, especially when there is a lack of clear evidence. The investigation relied heavily on interviews and information from the community, and the police are continuing to appeal for any information that could help them solve the case.

    • A Serial Killer's Reign of Terror in LaredoIn the summer of 2018, a serial killer claimed two lives in Laredo, leaving a community in shock and fear. The victims, Melissa and Claudine, were linked by their troubled pasts and a suspected boyfriend.

      The summer of 2018 in Laredo was marked by fear as a serial killer targeting prostitutes claimed two lives within a short span. The victims, Melissa and Claudine, were found near each other, both shot with a 40-caliber handgun. The discovery of Claudine's body ten days after Melissa's came as a shock to her sister, Collette, who had no idea it was her sibling until she saw the news. The family had a complicated history, with Claudine's childhood trauma leading her to drug addiction and eventually sex work. The suspected boyfriend was a common thread in both women's lives, and Collette believed he was responsible for Claudine's murder. The community was left reeling from the violence and loss.

    • A woman's tip leads to a significant breakthrough in the caseA woman's description of a suspect's house and neighborhood provided crucial information, linking a person of interest to multiple murders.

      The investigation into Claudine Loera's murder led the authorities to a person of interest named Chon. They went to his house but he was not there. However, he eventually showed up and fled when he saw people waiting outside. After an interview, he claimed to have been with Claudine before her death. Meanwhile, a frantic woman named Erica Pena approached a Texas DPS trooper, claiming that she had been attacked by the same man. She described him as a regular customer she had met in San Bernardo. When the topic of the recent murders of Melissa and Claudine came up, Erica and the trooper grew suspicious and contacted the investigators. Erica was able to provide detailed descriptions of the man's house and neighborhood. These new leads provided a significant breakthrough in the case, suggesting that the same killer could be responsible for all three murders.

    • Authorities link Ortiz to murders of two women, search for third victimA Border Patrol agent, Juan David Ortiz, is under investigation for the murders of two women. He had previously interacted with a key witness and owned a truck matching the description of one used in the crimes. The discovery of another victim and Ortiz's status as a Border Patrol agent added complexity to the case.

      The investigation into the murders of Melissa Ramirez and Claudine Loera led the authorities to Juan David Ortiz, a man who had previously interacted with a key witness, Erica. Ortiz was described as an oil field worker and owned a white Dodge 2500 pickup truck. When the police located the truck, they found it had disabled veteran plates, suggesting Ortiz had served in the military. However, the investigation took a turn when another body was discovered and a white Dodge Ram belonging to Ortiz was spotted near the scene. The police confronted Ortiz, who attempted to evade capture, leading to a manhunt involving the SWAT team. The discovery of another victim, Geeselda Cantu, further solidified the suspicion against Ortiz. A phone call from the Border Patrol revealed that Ortiz was a Border Patrol agent, adding a new dimension to the case. The investigation was ongoing, with the community closely following the developments.

    • Border Patrol Agent's Surprising Identity Revealed After Shooting SpreeA Border Patrol agent was identified as the suspect in a series of shootings, surprising investigators. He was found hiding in a pickup truck during a chase and claimed to have taken a friend to buy drugs, but used his service weapon.

      A Border Patrol agent, who was on the run as a suspect in a series of shootings, was finally apprehended after a lengthy chase. The agents and investigators involved were surprised to discover the suspect's true identity. The search for the suspect led to a hotel parking garage, where he was found hiding in a pickup truck. Ortiz denied knowing any of the victims and repeatedly claimed that he had taken his friend to buy drugs and became angry when she overdosed. He used his service weapon, issued by the Border Patrol, during the shootings. The suspect's demeanor during interrogation was arrogant, as he seemed to be proud of having outrun the authorities. The capture of the suspect brought relief to the city of Laredo, which had been in fear of a potential serial killer.

    • Former Border Patrol agent's confession leads to series of murders and assaultsA former Border Patrol agent, Juan David Ortiz, confessed to a series of violent crimes, including murder and assault, to cover his tracks and prevent victims from exposing him. His actions led to the discovery of multiple victims and his eventual capture.

      Juan David Ortiz, a former Border Patrol agent, confessed to a series of murders and assaults, including those of Melissa Ramirez and Claudine Loera. Ortiz claimed he wanted to cover his tracks and prevent the women from exposing him. He described his actions as a form of public service, but it's believed that the power shift between him and the victims, who crossed from their world into his, may have triggered his violent response. The coincidental timing of the deaths of Melissa and Claudine, who fit the same profile, further raised suspicions. Ortiz's actions led to the discovery of other victims, including Janelle Ortiz, and he continued to kill until he was caught. The victims' families were left to deal with the aftermath, including the shock of confronting Ortiz in court. Despite Ortiz's claims of a coerced confession, a jury found him guilty of multiple counts of murder and other crimes.

    • Jury finds Ortiz guilty, bringing relief to victim's familiesDecorated border patrol agent Ortiz was sentenced to life in prison for capital murder, bringing closure to families of victims and inspiring a witness to find new purpose in law enforcement.

      The jury found Juan David Ortiz, a decorated combat medic and rising star at the border patrol, guilty of capital murder and sentenced him to life in prison with no possibility of parole. The verdict brought relief to the victim's families, while Ciara, a witness in the case, found a new sense of purpose working for the sheriff's department. Despite the gravity of the situation, Ortiz showed no emotion during the trial. For Ciara, this experience marked a positive change in her life, and she felt proud to be in a position where she could make a difference. Overall, the trial highlighted the importance of justice being served and the impact it can have on those involved.

    Recent Episodes from Dateline NBC

    Missing in Music City

    Missing in Music City

    Hey Dateline fans, we’re sharing with you a special preview of the next episode of an all-new season of Dateline: Missing in America.  

    Josh Mankiewicz tells the story of Marcus Rutledge, a father who took his daughter to daycare in Nashville, Tennesse in 1998 and hasn’t been heard from or seen since dropping her off. 

    Listen carefully to the details, descriptions and clues offered by family, friends and investigators. Something you hear might jog a memory that could help authorities crack a case.  

    Follow Dateline: Missing in America and listen now: https://link.chtbl.com/dmiast_efo

    Dateline NBC
    enJuly 18, 2024

    Talking Dateline: Open Desert

    Talking Dateline: Open Desert

    Andrea Canning talks to Josh Mankiewicz about his episode, “Open Desert.” On March 8, 2020, 16-year-old Britney Ujlaky told her dad she was leaving a park to meet up with a friend. She never came home. Her partially-clothed body was found three days later in the Nevada desert. Detectives investigated multiple potential suspects before they turned their attention to the last person to see Britney alive. Josh and Andrea discuss Britney’s strong relationship with her father, Jim Ujlaky, and the blackmail scheme that gave her family false hope after she disappeared. Later, Josh shares a podcast-exclusive clip from his interview with Jim about his first impressions of the killer. Plus, Dateline producer Ann Preisman joins the conversation to share her experience making the episode and to answer viewer and listener questions from social media.

    Listen to the full episode “Open Desert” here:  https://link.chtbl.com/dl_opendesert

    Dateline NBC
    enJuly 17, 2024

    Mystery Down Highway 1

    Mystery Down Highway 1

    Hey Dateline fans, we’re sharing with you a special preview of the first episode of an all-new season of Dateline: Missing in America.  

    Josh Mankiewicz tells the story of Arelie Garcia, a 25-year-old woman who left the Salinas, California apartment she shared with her mother in 2022, and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. 

    Each of the six episodes will focus on one person’s story, as told by those left behind. Listen carefully to the details, descriptions and clues offered by family, friends and investigators. Something you hear might jog a memory that could help authorities crack a case.    

    Follow Dateline: Missing in America and listen now: https://link.chtbl.com/dmiast_lw

    Dateline NBC
    enJuly 16, 2024

    Talking Dateline: The Ranch

    Talking Dateline: The Ranch

    Josh Mankiewicz and Keith Morrison discuss Keith’s episode, “The Ranch,” about the harrowing 2007 kidnapping of Eduardo Valseca in the small city in Mexico where he lived with his wife, Jayne, and their three young children. As Jayne worked to meet the ransom demands for her husband, Eduardo endured seven months of deprivation and torture before finally being released. Keith reflects on the strength of the Valseca family and their unbreakable bond in the face of tragedy. He also shares an extra clip from his interview with Jayne Valseca in which she speaks about how she met Eduardo, the man who would become the love of her life. Keith and Josh answer viewer and listener questions from social media. 

    Listen to the full episode of "The Ranch" here: https://link.chtbl.com/dl_theranch

    Dateline NBC
    enJuly 10, 2024

    An all-new season of ‘Dateline: Missing in America’

    An all-new season of ‘Dateline: Missing in America’

    As a bonus for you, we’re sharing the trailer for season 3 of Dateline: Missing in America. The chart-topping podcast series is back with a brand-new season and brand-new cases.   

    Are you the key to solving a mystery? Correspondent Josh Mankiewicz reports on perplexing missing person cases brought to Dateline’s attention by our social media followers. Each episode focuses on one person’s story, as told by those left behind. Listen carefully to the details, descriptions and clues offered by family, friends and investigators. Something you hear might jog a memory that could help authorities crack a case.   

    Follow Dateline: Missing in America now and listen to season 3 starting Tuesday, July 16: https://link.chtbl.com/miast_tw  

    Dateline NBC
    enJuly 09, 2024

    Talking Dateline: Facing the Music

    Talking Dateline: Facing the Music

    Josh Mankiewicz sits down with Andrea Canning to discuss her episode, “Facing the Music.” 25-year-old teacher Christy Mirack was found murdered in her Lancaster, Pennsylvania apartment in 1992. Police began an investigation that would go cold for 25 years, until new technology ruled out initial potential suspects and pointed to a surprisingly familiar face as the killer. Andrea and Josh discuss the role of DNA in cold case investigations and Andrea talks about having her own composite portrait generated using her DNA. Andrea also shares an extra clip from an interview with one of Christy’s former students and answers viewer and listener questions about the episode from social media. 

    Listen to the full episode of “Facing the Music” here: https://link.chtbl.com/dl_facingthemusic

    Listen to the episode about Brittani Marcell Andrea mentions: https://link.chtbl.com/dl_thematch

    Dateline NBC
    enJuly 03, 2024

    Facing the Music

    Facing the Music

    When a young schoolteacher in Pennsylvania is murdered, her friends wonder if the killer will be caught. Following years without an arrest, investigators discover a new tool that may finally help unlock the murderer’s identity. Can police work fast enough to catch the suspect? Or will the killer slip away again? Andrea Canning reports.

    Listen to Andrea Canning and Josh Mankiewicz as they go behind the scenes of the making of this episode in ‘Talking Dateline’: https://link.chtbl.com/tdl_facingthemusic

    Talking Dateline: The Secret in Black Rock Canyon

    Talking Dateline: The Secret in Black Rock Canyon

    Andrea Canning talks to Keith Morrison about his episode, “The Secret in Black Rock Canyon.”  In 2006, 16-year-old Cassie Jo Stoddart was found stabbed to death at a relative’s home in Pocatello, Idaho. Detectives quickly learned that Cassie’s last day alive was nothing short of a real-life horror movie, with video to prove it, and the filmmakers-turned-killers were not at all who they expected. Keith and Andrea discuss his interview with one of Cassie’s killers and Keith shares an extra clip from his interview with Dr. James Garabino, a psychologist and expert on teen violence. Plus, Keith and Andrea are joined by the detective who investigated Cassie’s murder, retired Captain John Ganske.

    Listen to the full episode of "The Secret in Black Rock Canyon" here: https://link.chtbl.com/dateline_podcast

    Dateline NBC
    enJune 26, 2024

    Related Episodes

    The Border Patrol Serial Killer - Juan David Ortiz

    The Border Patrol Serial Killer - Juan David Ortiz

    This week we discuss the Border Patrol Serial Killer out of Laredo, Texas. For two weeks, Ortiz hunted down four women and killed them. His reasoning, because they were prostitutes and didn't feel that law enforcement was doing enough to eradicate prostitution. It is believed he knew his victims, but he has yet to disclose the relationship he had with them. I know we will find out more in Court. The trial will take place in San Antonio, with jury selection beginning October 21, 2022. We will be following the Court proceedings.

    This week we enjoyed Rattlesnake Red from our friends at Cascabel Ranch Winery. It paired just right with Chris's Chile rellenos.

    If you want to support the show you can join our Patreon family. Bonus episodes and more! Just click here and get in where you fit in!


    1.08 Up in Smoke

    1.08 Up in Smoke

    Transcript of episode (link following): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AIxq0_1xI-rA9U_GaS-j1LtQIi7Wvdbzyc7vibh_0MM/edit?usp=sharing

    *Clarification* Erik asserted the Civil War was about states right's. We know that it is was far more complex than that and that was an aspect of the causes.

    Quote from Runaway World: There are three main areas in which emotional communication, and therefore intimacy, are replacing the old ties that used to bind together people’s personal lives – in sexual and love relationships, parent–child relationships and also in friendship. To analyse these I want to use the idea of the ‘pure relationship’. I mean by this a relationship based upon emotional communication, where the rewards derived from such communication are the main basis for the relationship to continue. I don’t mean a sexually pure relationship. Also I don’t mean anything that exists in reality. I’m talking of an abstract idea that helps us understand changes going on in the world. Each of the three areas just mentioned – sexual and love relationships, parent–child relationships and friendship – is tending to approximate to this model. Emotional communication or intimacy is becoming the key to what they are all about.

    Articles and books we referenced for this episode:

    Marijuana’s huge impact in Colorado, by the numbers _ FOX31 Denver Jan 4, 2018

    Despite claims, data show legalized marijuana has not increased crime rates - Colorado Politics Feb 28, 2018

    Five years in_ The effects of legalization in Colorado and Washington state - Lift News Nov 13, 2017

    Increase in harder drugs after the decriminalization of pot

    Colorado's Drug Problem Among USA's Worst, Study Says _ Westword May 31, 2017

    States Rights - constitution _ Laws.com

    Civil war about states rights

    History of DOMA

    The Role of Precedent in the United States_ How Do Precedents Lose Their Binding Effect_ - China Guiding Cases Project

    Article IV _ Constitution _ US Law _ LII _ Legal Information Institute

    Obama administration will not block state marijuana laws if distribution is regulated - The Washington Post Aug 29, 2013

    Addiction: The view from Rat Park

    Runaway World by Anthony Giddens

    The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado_ The Impact, Sept 2016 Vol 4

    Correlation versus Causality

    Stoned Driving Nearly Doubles the Risk of a Fatal Crash _ TIME.com, Feb 10, 2012

    Hair dyes and cancer-cancer myth - Cancer Council Western Australia, Jan 01, 2018

    The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program was established by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in 1996.

    How long can a drug test detect cannabis usage_ – Calculator _ Marijuana Central

    Alcohol, Drugs and Crime

    Government Says You Can’t Overcome Addiction, Contrary to What Government Research Shows - Reason.com, Feb 01, 2014

    10% of the U.S. Population Has Quit Drugs or Alcohol _ TIME.com, Mar 7, 2012

    Decision-Making Under Stress_ The Brain Remembers Rewards, Forgets Punishments _ TIME.com, Mar 5, 2012

    Dihydrogen Monoxide - The Truth

    Philly’s post-Super Bowl ‘celebration’ was really a riot, Feb 6, 2018

    What Is Confirmation Bias_ _ Psychology Today, Apr 23, 2015

    ★ Support this podcast ★

    A Conversation About the State of Mental Health and Kids with Kristen Pyrc, M.D.

    A Conversation About the State of Mental Health and Kids with Kristen Pyrc, M.D.

    What’s the state of mental health for kids? What are psychiatrists seeing in their patients? Have we turned the corner on the mental health crisis post-COVID-19 pandemic? On this episode of Raising Joy, Wini King interviews co-host Kristen Pyrc, M.D., co-medical director of psychiatry at Cook Children’s. Dr. Pyrc shares what she’s seeing in her office and how things have changed in recent years.

    Swifties take over Football

    Swifties take over Football

    With Deion Sanders out of the lime light Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift have taken over the sports world! Swifties around the world are now learning what football is and it can't be a better time for the guys cause now their girls are interested! Thank you Travis! College football finally had some meaningful games and now we get another lull until mid October. Several games this week peaked our interest and we recapped some of the highlights from this past weekend.

    Hope Defined, Hope Abounding

    Hope Defined, Hope Abounding

    Messianic Expectation 

    prophet greater than Moses 
    king greater than David 
    priest greater than Aaron 
    servant suffering more than Israel
    sage wiser than Solomon 

    “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

    - Romans 15:13 


    “…waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”

    - Titus 2:13 -14

    "But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."

     - 2 Peter 3:8-9

    “…having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints”

    - Ephesians 1:18 


     “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. ”

    - 1 John 3:1

     “You prepare a table before me

        in the presence of my enemies;

    you anoint my head with oil;

        my cup overflows…”

    - Psalm 23:5 

    “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

    - John 10:10

    “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”

    - Philippians 4:4: 

    “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

    - Romans 15:4

    “I will put enmity between you and the woman,

        and between your offspring and her offspring;

    he shall bruise your head,

        and you shall bruise his heel.”

    - Genesis 3:15

    “Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. 19 Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.” 

    - Romans 5:18-19



    Throughout Scripture, hope is illustrated as a helmet and an anchor. Why do you think that is? 
    What area of your life do you need to be preaching to yourself, “HOPE IN GOD”? 
    Who do you know that is abounding in joy and peace? What is different about them?