A New Memo Claims That A Border Patrol Agent Who Died In November Was Not Attacked As Previously Claimed
On Nov. 18, two border patrol agents were injured on duty. One of them, 36-year-old Rogelio Martinez, died of his injuries. His partner Stephen “Michael” Garland survived. Soon after the incident was made public, speculation arose regarding how these border agents sustained their injuries. President Donald Trump took to Twitter the following day to say that whomever attacked these two men would be brought to justice. According to Reuters, an internal investigation into the the deaths has not found any evidence of an attack on the two agents.
The injury of one border agent and the death of another prompted President Trump to tweet about the importance of a border wall.
Border Patrol Officer killed at Southern Border, another badly hurt. We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible. We will, and must, build the Wall!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2017
However, a newly released memo shows that Martinez didn’t die in an attack but rather from a fall as of this time in the investigation.
“We do not know all the answers at this time. However, according to the FBI, currently none of the completed interviews, locations searched, or collected and analyzed evidence have produced evidence that would support the existence of a scuffle, altercation or attack,” Kevin McAleenan, acting head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection wrote in the memo, according to Reuters.
Details of what happened while Martinez and Garland were on duty remain a mystery. Garland cannot recall the events of that night after sustaining severe head injuries form the fall with Martinez. According to The Washington Post, Garland has not spoken publicly about the incident because of his amnesia.
According to CNN both men were patrolling an area east of Van Horn, Texas, close to midnight. The men were found injured “near a concrete-lined culvert, a tunnel structure used for water drainage.” FBI agents have interviewed 650 people as part of their investigation into the death of Martinez. As of now, there is no evidence of an “attack or scuffle.” It remains unclear how the men ended up at the bottom of a nine-foot-deep drain near the highway.
Authorities suspect that a moonless night could have contributed to the fall because of bad visibility.
An FBI investigation shows no evidence of an attack on this border agent. Trump used the incident to renew his call for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. #RogelioMartinezhttps://t.co/Cxfac6fPhM
— Shomari Stone (@shomaristone) February 8, 2018
The FBI also added: “This investigation has not conclusively determined how Mr. Martinez and his partner ended up at the bottom of the culvert and no suspects have been linked to this incident.”
The only other footprints that were seen in the area belong to first responders, according to CNN.
An autopsy report was released the day before the memo and listed Martinez’ cause of death an blunt-force trauma to the head. The manner of death is listed as undetermined.