Following a three month investigation into the mysterious death of a Border Patrol agent in West Texas, the FBI has announced it found no evidence to support earlier claims that the agent was attacked or murdered.
Shortly before the incident late on a Saturday night, fellow agents said they heard Martinez radio that he had found signs of activity and was checking them out. A day before the FBI's announcement, the El Paso County Medical Examiner had released an autopsy report, citing "blunt injuries of the head as the cause of death", but it did not add any details to the manner of Martinez's death.
US Border Agent Rogelio "Roger" Martinez and his partner, Stephen "Michael" Garland, were found near a concrete-lined culvert in southwest Texas on November 18. Agents in the Border Patrol union say he was assaulted by rock-hurling migrants.
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 dispatcher also wrote into a Border Patrol log, "[He] thinks they (both agents) ran into a culvert".
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.
Martinez had severe head injuries and other wounds such as broken bones.
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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.
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. Garland's distress call the night of the incident referenced running into a culvert.
"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", the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement released Wednesday. A forensic analysis later determined they had nothing to do with Martinez's death or the injuries to Garland. "As part of this effort, the FBI has investigated multiple theories, including whether the Border Patrol Agents were ambushed or attacked or whether their injuries were as a result of an accident or any other relevant criminal activity". "Our view hasn't changed".
Ms. Ochoa said she was shocked to learn that her fiancé had a barbiturate in his system when he died. "It seems to me that they don't have any leads".
The F.B.I.'s report, which said agents had interviewed more than 650 people, came one day after the release of Mr. Martinez's autopsy report.
But the F.B.I. report makes clear that the authorities knew very little in the moments after the episode. As part of this effort, the FBI has investigated multiple theories, including whether the Border Patrol Agents were ambushed or attacked or whether their injuries were as a result of an accident or any other relevant criminal activity. "Our view is he was attacked", Cabrera told CNN.
Art Del Cueto, national spokesman for the union, said Wednesday the FBI's comments were preliminary.