Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

Border Patrol Agent's Death Remains a Mystery His Fiance Wants to Solve

Border Patrol Agent's Death Remains a Mystery His Fiance Wants to Solve

An extensive FBI investigation into the death of a border patrol agent that President Donald Trump described as a murder has found no evidence that the man was attacked.

Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez, 36, was found with grave head trauma at the bottom of a roadside culvert along a desolate span of Interstate 10 on November 18.

An autopsy concluded Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez died of "blunt force trauma" to his head caused by an "undetermined manner of death".

Neither Abbott nor Cruz responded to a request for comment on the FBI's report or whether they still considered Martinez's death the result of an attack. 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 was found at the bottom of a culvert and died of his injuries the next day. No suspects have been linked to the incident. Martinez's unnamed partner was also found with serious injuries but survived and remains hospitalized.

The FBI also reviewed a telephone conversation between a Border Patrol dispatcher and Garland, who was disoriented and unsure of his location.

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's website, 38 agents have died in the line of duty since December 2003.

About 11:20 p.m. Martinez and another agent, Stephen "Michael" Garland, were found injured near a concrete-lined culvert - a tunnel used for water drainage.

Martinez's injuries included fractures to his skull, right jaw, upper ribs and his right collarbone, according to an autopsy report released by the El Paso County Medical Examiner's Office.

Officials with the Border Patrol union said the agents were ambushed by migrants.

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Agent Stephen Garland, 38, has since returned home and was assisting investigators, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Jeanette Harper.

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

An informant familiar with human smugglers told Border Patrol officials that a pair of brothers recently smuggled across the border had admitted to assaulting the agents, according to a warrant later filed to search the brothers' vehicle in New Mexico.

After more than 650 interviews conducted by dozens of Federal Bureau of Investigation field offices, investigators say that none of the evidence collected and analyzed so far, "supports the existence 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", the FBI said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.

The FBI has not publicly stated that the agents fell, but McAleenan's memo is consistent with working theories of what happened, according to investigators. "Our view hasn't changed".

Neither she nor the Martinez family had heard from Garland since the agent's death, she said. "It seems to me that they don't have any leads".

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

The FBI continues to offer a reward of up to $50,000 for information on the case and provides this number: 915-832-5000 to call with information.

He pointed to the lack of injuries on the lower part of Martinez's body.

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