650 Interviews Later, Border Agent's Death Still a Mystery

FBI says there's no evidence Rogelio Martinez was murdered
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2018 12:21 AM CST
FBI Says There Is No Evidence Border Patrol Agent Murdered
This image distributed by the FBI on Dec. 4, 2017, in El Paso, Texas, shows a request for information in the death of US Customs and Border Protection Agent Rogelio Martinez, who succumbed to traumatic head injuries and broken bones suffered while on duty.   (FBI via AP)

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. After an autopsy released Tuesday stated that Martinez died from blunt-force trauma from an undetermined cause, the FBI said it had investigated several theories, but none of the interviews, "locations searched, or evidence collected and analyzed have produced evidence that would support the existence of a scuffle, altercation, or attack," reports the Los Angeles Times. Martinez and fellow agent Stephen Garland, who survived, were found in a 9-foot-deep culvert next to Interstate 10 in the Big Bend Sector of Texas Nov. 18 with head injuries and broken bones.

According to an internal US Customs and Border Protection memo seen by CNN, neither man had defensive wounds, the only footprints found at the scene belonged to the agents and first responders, and "there was no third-party blood or DNA evidence from the scene or from the agents' clothing." The memo also states that Garland has trouble remembering the incident, which occurred late at night. The FBI says Garland told a dispatcher at the time that they were both hurt and he thought they "ran into a culvert." The local sheriff has said he thinks the men may have been sideswiped by a truck. Department of Justice sources tell CNN that theories being investigated include an attack, an accident, or an altercation between the agents. The incident led President Trump to renew his calls for a border wall. (Read more Border Patrol stories.)

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