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FBI Says Investigation in Border Patrol Death Shows No Signs of Attack

Border Patrol agent Rogelio Martinez suffered injuries to his head and body while on patrol in Van Horn. Officials have yet to comment on the events that led to the officer's death. (Photo courtesy of Border Patrol.)

The FBI released new information Wednesday evening in their investigation into the death of border patrol agent Rogelio Martinez. The 36-year-old agent died while on patrol near Van Horn nearly 3 months ago.

Following Martinez’s death, politicians and the border patrol national council said he was attacked. But new information may challenge that theory.  

In a statement, the FBI reported that so far the investigation, which has included 650 interviews, has uncovered no evidence in support of an "attack" on Agent Martinez or his partner.

The agency also released a new detail from the night of the incident. The report states that when Agent Martinez’s partner called dispatch for help, he made a statement suggesting the two 'ran into a culvert,' 'I ran into a culvert,' or 'I think I ran into a culvert.'"
Still, the Big Bend chapter of the National Border Patrol Council says they believe the incident was an attack.  “I think that if the FBI had any evidence or felt that this was anything other than an assault, they wouldn’t retain jurisdiction," says Lee Smith, the organization's president.

"They don’t investigate on vehicle accidents that strike an agent, or another federal employee, law enforcement employee. That’s not what they do.”

An autopsy report released Tuesday concluded that Martinez died of head injuries, though how he got those injuries is still "undetermined." The FBI is continuing the investigation. They are offering up to $50,000 in exchange for information leading to resolution of the case.

Read the full press release below:

Carlos Morales is Marfa Public Radio's News Director.