HOUSTON -- The FBI believes a Border Patrol agent found dead in his South Texas home this week had kidnapped and assaulted three women who were in the country illegally, officials said.
"He is the subject of the investigation and we believe he is responsible for the kidnapping of all three of the victims," Michelle Lee, an FBI spokeswoman in San Antonio, told the Los Angeles Times.
Border Patrol agents discovered one of the women Wednesday during their patrol near the border city of McAllen, about 350 miles south of Houston, according to a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The woman was injured and told agents that she and two others had been attacked by a man, the statement said.
When investigators began searching for the other women and the suspect, they soon found one of the women and zeroed in on the home of agent Esteban Manzanares in Mission, a suburb of McAllen, the statement said.
They entered the home overnight with a SWAT team of local police. Inside, they found the third woman and Manzanares' body.
It was not clear how the agent died.
A Border Patrol official told the Associated Press that Manzanares shot himself. The official also said Manzanares was on duty when he met the women.
Lee said she could not confirm how Manzanares died or how he met the women.
All three women were receiving medical care, the agency said.
[Updated, 4:05 p.m. PDT March 14: A spokeswoman for the Honduran embassy in Washington, D.C., said late Friday that the three females are a mother, her underage daughter and another female minor who is not related to them -- and all are from Honduras, the AP reported.]
Manzanares had worked for the Border Patrol since 2008.
Spokeswoman Jenny Burke said the Border Patrol holds its employees to "the highest ethical standards" and that the agency "takes this incident extremely seriously and we are fully cooperating with the investigation."