Longtime Utah journalist Marcos Ortiz died in his home on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 68 years old, according to ABC4. The local news outlet says the cause of his death is as of yet unknown.
Ortiz worked as a journalist in Utah for more than 30 years. With a penchant for true crime, he became ABC4’s senior crime and justice reporter and developed the long-running ABC4 series, The Justice Files, about unsolved crimes in Utah. He reported on some of Utah’s most notorious crimes and criminals, like Ron and Dan Lafferty, the Salt Lake City Strangler, the death of Elizabeth Salgado, the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell, the Ogden Hi-Fi murders, and even D.B. Cooper.
ABC4 general manager and vice president Mark Danielson said in a statement, “Words are difficult to find as we learned of the loss of our colleague and friend, Marcos Ortiz. He was an icon in Utah: a journalist, a mentor, a coach, and a friend. He reminded us how to be curious while leading by example. He will be missed by all and remembered always.”
Ortiz was more than his work, of course, as celebrated as it is. He is survived by his wife Sandy, to whom he was married for 34 years, his daughter Olivia, who graduated from law school at the University of Utah, and their family dog Franklin. In his own words, Ortiz loved his Cavalier King Charles’ dog, Sir Charles, a wonderful companion for more than 17 years who preceded Ortiz in passing. On a personal note, Ortiz also gave solid wine recommendations.
Some stories are hard to tell. Especially stories about those who have died tragically. They’re often surrounded by grief and shame and pain that we would rather turn away from than confront. As a journalist, Marcos Ortiz did not shrink from telling those stories. He made a career out of it. He spoke to countless grieving family members, desperate friends and investigators so he could tell those hard stories. Now, the people who knew Marcos Ortiz are trying to tell his story. As someone who worked with Ortiz for years, I don’t know if any of us could do that job as well as he could.