Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

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

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

His death was held up as example of the dangers faced by the Border Patrol - and cited by President Donald Trump as another reason to build a border wall - but an autopsy report on an agent fatally injured in a west Texas culvert last fall only deepens the mystery surrounding his death.

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.

Martinez suffered head injuries and broken bones November 18 near Interstate 10 about 130 miles east of El Paso after responding to a triggered sensor, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is still investigating. It said that a Border Patrol dispatcher spoke by telephone to Martinez's partner, Stephen Garland. Agent Martinez and his partner were on patrol near Van Horn Texas about 120 miles east of El Paso.

No other suspects have been linked to the incident.

Mr. Garland, who also had major head injuries and broken bones, was later released from the hospital.

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

President Trump quickly blamed Martinez's death on undocumented immigrants, tweeting, "We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible". Garland was seriously injured but has no memory of what happened.

An autopsy report released Wednesday only added another layer of confusion, deeming the cause of Martinez's death "undetermined".

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

But an update from the FBI on its investigation complicated the picture.

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

The search for witnesses spanned multiple states and included electronic billboards in New Mexico and other border states offering a $25,000 reward for information. 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.

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".

Arizona Rep. Martha McSally, now running for Arizona's open Senate seat called it a "murder" and said it should serve as a "wake up call to our country that we must have the resolve to secure our border and protect Americans from deadly threats like these".

But the FBI's El Paso field office on Wednesday said that after several hundred interviews, the agency has concluded that the agent's death was more likely the result of an accident. "Our view hasn't changed. Our view is he was attacked", he told CNN, referring to the FBI's investigation.

"It says that there is no evidence pointing it to being a struggle", Mr. Cabrera said in an interview. "It seems to me that they don't have any leads". "It's just dumb, the physics aren't there".

"There were no defensive wounds on Agent Martinez or his partner", McAleenan wrote in his memo.

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.

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