By Juan Carlos Llorca
EL PASO, Texas — The FBI believes a Border Patrol agent found dead in his South Texas home is responsible for the kidnapping and assault of three women who were in the country illegally, the agency said Thursday.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents encountered an injured adult woman during the course of their regular operations Wednesday night, the CBP said. The woman told them that she and the two others had been attacked by a man, which prompted authorities to start a "search and recovery" operation. Border agents later found the second injured female.
Both the border patrol and the FBI said that the investigation led authorities early Thursday to the Mission home of the agent, who was found dead inside. Law enforcement officials discovered the third female in the agent's apartment, the border patrol said. The FBI is not identifying the agent.
"We believe he is the person responsible for the kidnappings and the assault of all three of them," said Michelle Lee, a spokeswoman for the FBI in San Antonio. She did not elaborate on the investigation.
The victims are receiving medical treatment.
Sgt. Manny Casas, a spokesman for the police department in Mission, which is a suburb of McAllen, said his agency got a call from the FBI at 12:39 a.m. Thursday to assist with "a kidnapping situation" at an apartment complex.
The police department's SWAT unit was called in after officials reported shots being fired from an apartment at the complex. Casas said he did not know if the SWAT team entered the home and had no other details about who was found in the apartment.
Lee said the FBI is waiting for an autopsy report to release more information about how the agent died.
Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman Jenny Burke said the agency "takes this incident extremely seriously and (is) fully cooperating with the investigation."
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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press