No Evidence Border Patrol Agent's Death Was From An Attack, FBI Says

11 February, 2018, 05:36 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • FBI says no evidence of attack on dead Border Patrol agent

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Thursday that the results of an FBI investigation into the death of a Border Patrol agent who died late past year should serve as a cautionary tale against jumping to conclusions.

Agent Rogelio Martinez died in November 2017 outside Van Horn, Texas, about 110 miles southeast of El Paso.

The FBI's statement came a day after the El Paso County Medical Examiner's Office issued its autopsy report, stating that Martinez, 36, died from blunt injuries to the head.

Immediately following the incident, President Donald Trump cited the agent's death while renewing his call for a border wall with Mexico.

Two people previously identified as persons of interest are not connected to Martinez's death, or his partner's injuries, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday. But Garland is still recovering and has trouble remembering what happened, according to Lee Smith, a spokesman for the local Border Patrol union who met with Garland after the incident and said he declined interviews with the news media.

Martinez's death was quickly politicized after Border Patrol union officials described a horrific crime scene in the culvert that pointed to a vicious beating. U.S. Sen, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, also called the incident an attack. Both agents were found with severe head injuries, and Martinez had a skull fracture, broken jaw and trauma to the upper right side of his torso, consistent with a fall.

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The statement noted that a Border Patrol dispatcher spoke with Martinez's injured partner that night.

But Ms. Ochoa said that in the days before he died, Mr. Martinez had been complaining of headaches and neck tension. The partner says he has no memory of what happened.

Officials with the Border Patrol union said the agents were ambushed by migrants. The FBI began investigating the incident as a "potential assault" but released few details early on and cautioned against speculation.

Sheriff Oscar Carrillo of Culberson County, where the two officers were injured, was on scene that night.

In December, agents were chasing a tip that two undocumented brothers, suspected drug smugglers, had attacked the agents, according to a search warrant filed unsealed in New Mexico.

The El Paso FBI office said in its statement that it was assisted by 37 separate offices and two legal attaches, and that two "persons of interest" were determined to have no connection to Martinez's death or Garland's injuries.

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Cops and politicians blasted Trump's premature assumption, and on Wednesday evening, the FBI released the result of a months-long investigation: there's no evidence to suggest that Martinez's death was the result of a "scuffle, altercation or attack".

This investigation has been the top priority of the El Paso FBI Field Office, and the FBI has aggressively pursued all logical leads and investigative avenues. "Our view hasn't changed".

Cornyn, who tweeted in November that he told Martinez's mother that those responsible would be found and held accountable, told reporters during a conference call Thursday that it appeared the death was indeed the result of an accident.

"It says that there is no evidence pointing it to being a struggle", Mr. Cabrera said in an interview.

"If you got hit from behind and didn't have a chance to defend yourself, then how would you defend yourself?" But the agency added that the investigation would continue and a $50,000 reward to anyone with information about the case is still in effect.

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