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Border Patrol agent whose 'murder' Trump used to justify border wall 'was not killed in attack', says FBI

Statement shows circumstances of officer's death still unresolved

Jeremy B. White
San Francisco
Thursday 08 February 2018 02:41 GMT
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The rugged Texas terrain where authorities searched for suspects in the death of Border Patrol officer Rogelio Martinez
The rugged Texas terrain where authorities searched for suspects in the death of Border Patrol officer Rogelio Martinez (John Moore/Getty Images)

A border patrol agent whose death Donald Trump has invoked to build support for a border wall was likely not killed in an attack, the FBI said.

Last November two injured border patrol agents were found with traumatic head injuries in a culvert in Texas, the FBI said. One of them, Rogelio Martinez, died of his wounds.

The President responded to news of Mr Martinez’s death by saying he had been “killed” and then urging the construction of a wall spanning the US-Mexico border, which he has cast as a necessary security measure.

“We will, and must, build the Wall!” Mr Trump said.

But an update from the FBI on its investigation complicated the picture. El Paso Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie said in a statement that his office investigated multiple explanations, including whether Mr Rogelio was “ambushed or attacked”. They have found no evidence to support that.

“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,” Mr Buie said.

Shortly after Mr Martinez’s death, Culberson County Sheriff Oscar Carrillo cast doubt on the notion that the agent had died in an attack.

“If this was an assault, believe me, as sheriff, I’d be the first one out there emphasising safety in our community and with our deputies, pairing them up,” Mr Carrillo told the Dallas Morning News.

“But from what I know and see, that was not the case here.”

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