The FBI has found no foul play in the mysterious death of a border agent beside a remote West Texas highway last November. The incident, viewed as a homicide, had prompted calls for greater border security. An autopsy released Tuesday night concluded Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez died of “blunt force trauma” to his head caused by an “undetermined manner of death,” NPR reports. FBI agent Emmerson Buie Jr. in El Paso said that “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 Nov. 18, 2017.” A second agent, who survived his wounds, told a dispatcher, “We ran into a culvert.”
The incident happened beside Interstate 10 about 120 miles southeast of El Paso and about 30 miles across rugged desert from the Mexican border. The FBI investigation remains open, but its statement counters hasty conclusions by conservative politicians and law enforcement figures who assumed unauthorized immigrants committed a brutal murder in the lawless borderlands. After the incident, President Trump tweeted, “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!” Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, the agents’ union, believed that the agents were brutally beaten with rocks.