SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — ABC4 suffered a great loss when senior crime reporter Marcos Ortiz, 68, died in his home in 2022. Although he is now gone, he will never be forgotten. ABC4 is prepared to honor Marcos’ legacy for as long as time allows.
In his stead, Courtney Johns, an Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist, will be hosting Ortiz’s signature series, Justice Files, beginning March 2023.
“A journalist’s job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,” Johns said. “It’s an ideal Marcos lived by every day and a legacy I hope to continue.”
An Emmy Award-winning journalist and producer, Marcos was best known for his extensive work in shining a light on unsolved crimes across Utah with his Justice Files series. Johns said she realizes she has big shoes to fill in taking over the franchise, but she also said the work Ortiz was doing is too important to abandon.
“Marcos inspired us every day and was a mentor to many,” Johns said. “He truly believed in the work we do and the power of journalism.”
Despite the grim nature of his work, Ortiz never once thought about giving up on the pursuit of truth. He strived to give unsolved cases in Utah the exposure they need so that victims and their families can receive closure. He was there for them during their darkest moments, bringing light and hope to the most overlooked corner of Utah.
Johns currently anchors for ABC4 at 4 p.m. and CW30 News at 7 p.m. while nightside reporting in the evenings. She had previously worked in several markets in the Midwest, most recently in Nebraska on an investigative team.
Johns wants to emphasize that no one can replace the work that Marcos had done, but she hopes that the ABC4 team can carry on his mission by upholding the values he held dear to his heart.
“I am honored to bring back a franchise that meant so much to Marcos and the community,” Johns said. “His memory will live on through our pursuit for truth and justice.”
Viewers can catch the return of Justice Files on ABC4 soon. All Justice Files cases will be produced into digital pieces that can be viewed online.