Following a three month investigation into the mysterious death of a Border Patrol agent in West Texas, the FBI has announced it found no evidence to support earlier claims that the agent was attacked or murdered.
The FBI's statement came a day after the El Paso County Medical Examiner's Office issued its autopsy report, stating that Martinez, 36, died from blunt injuries to the head.
But a spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council, the union representing agents, on Wednesday insisted Martinez's death was not accidental.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a Border Patrol dispatcher working the night Martinez died got a call from his partner, who was "disoriented" but able to report they were both injured.
The release provided a detail that was not previously made public: when talking to a dispatcher by phone, the second agent "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". Agent Martinez and his partner were on patrol near Van Horn Texas about 120 miles east of El Paso.
The statement also said no suspects have been linked to the incident. Martinez also had broken ribs and a clavicle.
The statement noted that a Border Patrol dispatcher spoke with Martinez's injured partner that night. Martinez was on patrol in the Big Bend Sector when he died in the line of duty.
About 11:20 p.m. Martinez and another agent, Stephen "Michael" Garland, were found injured near a concrete-lined culvert - a tunnel used for water drainage. An autopsy released Tuesday listed the cause of Martinez's death as "undetermined". The FBI in El Paso said Wednesday it can not find any evidence that an attack led to his death.
Culberson County Sheriff Oscar Carillo, who was one of the first responders on the scene, said at the time that there had been an increase in accidents on the heavily trafficked roadway, with truck drivers swerving out of their lanes because of heavy wind drafts.
In December, agents were chasing a tip that two undocumented brothers, suspected drug smugglers, had attacked the agents, according to a search warrant filed unsealed in New Mexico.
A Customs and Border Protection spokesperson declined to comment on the case. "As part of this effort, 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".
After more than 650 interviews conducted by dozens of Federal Bureau of Investigation field offices, investigators say that none of the evidence collected and analyzed so far, "supports the existence of a scuffle, altercation, or attack". His partner suffered head trauma and told investigators he could not remember what happened. "Our view hasn't changed".
"There's no way he fell and dropped off that culvert", Cabrera said. "I honestly believe they will", he said.
He pointed to the lack of injuries on the lower part of Martinez's body. As part of this effort, 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.
"If you fall from that height, you're not just going to land above the waist, your legs have to hit at some point", Cabrera said.
The FBI statement offered the most detailed information to date on the events of November 18.