Death of border agent still a mystery

Emmett Rice
February 9, 2018

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 on November 18, 2017.

In his distress call, Garland told the dispatcher: "We ran into a culvert", "I ran into a culvert" or "I think I ran into a culvert", the report said.

Martinez's death became a political talking point, with President Donald Trump saying Martinez was attacked and calling for a border wall. A spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council, the union that represented the officers, said it was an "ambush". Police provided little information about Martinez's tragic death, but that didn't stop President Trump from quickly blaming undocumented immigrants, tweeting, "We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible". The El Paso medical examiner's office found that Mr. Martinez, 36, had died of blunt injuries to the head, but could not determine the manner of death. While the investigators could not solve what happened with Mr. Martinez and Mr. Garland, the F.B.I. said the case would remain open. Disoriented and unsure of his location, Garland told the dispatcher that he and Martinez were injured.

Rogelio Martinez died from injuries he sustained while he and his partner were responding to reports of unknown activity the night of November 18 near Van Horn, a Texas town near the Mexico border about 110 miles (175 kilometers) southeast of El Paso. A total of 26 searches have been carried out in Texas and New Mexico.

Federal Bureau of Investigation officials said they had initially identified two persons of interest, but found that neither had anything to do with Martinez's death, citing extensive forensic analysis.

The FBI had identified two persons of interests in the case.

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Melinek stressed that the report contains limited information, and she didn't have access to photos, X-rays and other materials available to the El Paso medical examiner who performed the autopsy.

The FBI says it has conducted more than 650 interviews and found no evidence that Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez's fatal injuries were caused by an attack, despite his union's insistence that he was murdered. Garland can't remember, and the months long investigation by the FBI hasn't led to any conclusions or suspects.

Martinez's fiancée, Angela Ochoa, and his family have said they don't understand how the agent suffered such severe injuries. An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt.

Earlier this week, Trump called on Democrats to "get tough" on immigration, citing the death of Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson, who was killed in a suspected drunken-driving crash involving a Guatemalan citizen living illegally in the U.S. Manuel Orrego-Savala was charged Wednesday with two counts each of causing death while driving intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident.

The FBI will continue to investigate the incident involving Agent Martinez and his partner, and will pursue any new and relevant tips and leads.

A $70,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the attacker or attackers.

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