FBI Investigation Finds No Evidence That Border Patrol Agent Was Murdered
11 February, 2018, 05:40 | Author: Lucy Floyd
An autopsy shows that Border Patrol agent Rogelio Martinez died as a result of head injuries.
Chris Cabrera, a spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council, said the union disagreed with the findings layed out in the internal memo and the FBI's account.
Martinez, 36, died late on the evening of November 18.
Martinez was found at the bottom of a culvert and died of his injuries the next day. "To date none of the more than 650 interviews completed, locations searched, or evidence collected and analyzed have produced evidence that would support the existence of a scuffle, altercation, or attack".
Martinez's unnamed partner, who was also injured that night while they were both on patrol, told investigators that he doesn't remember what happened.
Trump drew national attention to the incident when it was first reported, tweeting, "Border Patrol Officer killed at Southern Border, another badly hurt". It said that a Border Patrol dispatcher spoke by telephone to Martinez's partner, Stephen Garland.
Mr. Martinez, who lived in El Paso and became an agent in 2013, and Mr. Garland were patrolling the Big Bend sector, a vast area of 135,000 square miles in Texas and Oklahoma.
The top official of the U.S. Border Patrol has told his staff that the November death of an agent in West Texas was the result of an accidental fall, not an attack, according to a memo that refutes the version of the incident advanced by President Donald Trump to renew his calls for a border wall. We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible. "We will, and must, build the Wall!".
Arizona Rep. Martha McSally, now running for Arizona's open Senate seat called it a "murder" and said it should serve as a "wake up call to our country that we must have the resolve to secure our border and protect Americans from deadly threats like these".
The FBI and the state of Texas have offered a $70,000 reward for information in this case.
The FBI says there's no indication that a border patrol agent who died on duty past year was murdered. Agent Martinez later succumbed to his injuries.
But an update from the FBI on its investigation complicated the picture.
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Sen. Ted Cruz also seized on the agent's death in calling for increased border enforcement.
Concentrated investigative activities and canvasses for witnesses and evidence have taken place across the United States.
The search for witnesses spanned multiple states and included electronic billboards in New Mexico and other border states offering a $25,000 reward for information.
Culberson County Sheriff Oscar Carrillo, one of the first responders to the scene, told the Dallas Morning News he thought the agents could have been sideswiped by a tractor-trailer traveling along the darkened interstate. Moreover, the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewed six personnel from Union Pacific Railroad which had locomotives in the area on November 18, 2017 and November 19, 2017. At a cabinet meeting, he described Martinez's partner as "brutally beaten".
Garland "fell approximately 22 feet away from where Agent Martinez fell, landing on his back and sustaining significant injuries to his back and skull", McAleenan wrote in his staff memo, a copy of which was obtained Thursday by The Washington Post. An autopsy released Tuesday listed the cause of Martinez's death as "undetermined". After an autopsy released Tuesday stated that Martinez died from blunt-force trauma from an undetermined cause, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had investigated several theories, but none of the interviews, "locations searched, or evidence collected and analyzed have produced evidence that would support the existence of a scuffle, altercation, or attack", reports the Los Angeles Times.
Buie also noted that during the agency's investigation into Martinez's death several people in Portales, New Mexico, were identified as people of interest and indicted for offenses including smuggling undocumented immigrants. An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt.
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