VAN HORN, TX (KWES) - El Paso FBI Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie released their findings into the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez back on Nov. 19, 2017.
As you may recall, on the night of Nov. 18, 2017, about 12 miles east of Van Horn, Texas, Martinez and his partner were seriously injured while on-duty conducting routine checks of culverts in the area.
Martinez later died from his injuries.
According to the release, the investigation has not conclusively determined how Agent Martinez and his partner ended up at the bottom of the culvert and no suspects have been linked to the incident.
We're told as part of the investigation, 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.
In the release, the FBI stated, "Concentrated investigative activities and canvasses for witnesses and evidence have taken place across the United States. Additionally, a total of 37 separate FBI field offices and two Legal Attaché offices have assisted in conducting interviews and pursuing leads. A total of 26 searches have been carried out in Texas and New Mexico. As a result of these cumulative investigative efforts, more than 650 total interviews have been conducted, to include interviews of all federal, state, and local first responders present at the incident scene, as well as more than 55 medical personnel who treated and provided care to Agent Martinez and his injured partner at both medical facilities. Moreover, the FBI interviewed six personnel from Union Pacific Railroad which had locomotives in the area on November 18, 2017 and November 19, 2017. To date 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 on November 18, 2017."
The release also stated that evidence was developed that a Border Patrol dispatcher spoke with the injured partner of Martinez by telephone. During the call, while disoriented and unsure of his location, Martinez' partner stated that he and Martinez were hurt. The partner also made a statement to the effect of, "We ran into a culvert," "I ran into a culvert," or "I think I ran into a culvert." The dispatcher also wrote into a Border Patrol log, "[He] thinks they (both agents) ran into a culvert."
We're told the FBI identified two persons of interest. However, through forensic analysis both have been determined not to have had anything to do with the death of Agent Martinez and the injuries to his partner.
On Tuesday, The El Paso County Medical Examiner released the autopsy report for Martinez in which the cause of death was blunt injuries of the head. The manner of death is undetermined.
The release also stated, "As a result of the investigative efforts of the FBI and its federal, state, and local partners in this investigation, several individuals were identified in Portales, New Mexico, and have been charged by indictment with offenses involving the smuggling of an alien. None of these subjects is currently a subject in the investigation into the death of Agent Martinez and the injuries to his partner. An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."
The FBI is continuing to investigate the incident involving Martinez and his partner and will pursue any new and relevant tips and leads.
A $50,000 reward is still being offered for information leading to the resolution of this case.
If you have any information, contact the FBI at (915) 832-5000.