Mystery Still Surrounds Circumstances of Border Patrol Agent's Death Near Van Horn
VAN HORN, TX — The FBI is leading the investigation into the death of one and serious injury of another U.S. Border Patrol Agent near the Van Horn Station in Culberson County.
According to the FBI, both agents suffered traumatic head injuries as well as broken bones. The FBI stated that on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 11:20 p.m. the two injured agents were located in a culvert area adjacent Interstate 10 about 2 miles east of Van Horn.
The FBI statement clarifies when the attack happened. News reports Sunday suggested the attack happened Sunday afternoon.
The injured agents were administered medical care until ambulances arrived and rushed both to the hospital in Van Horn. Later, both agents were airlifted separately to El Paso for more advanced medical care.
Agent Rogelio Martinez, 36, died of his injuries in the early morning hours Sunday, Nov. 19, the FBI stated.
The agent who survived is in stable condition in an ICU of an El Paso hospital. Authorities have not released his name.
“The FBI is asking anyone with information about this tragic incident to contact the FBI 24 hours a day at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or online at tips.fbi.gov.
“The FBI is aggressively investigating all leads coming in from the public and through investigative activities,” the federal law enforcement agency stated in a press release Monday.
In news Monday concerning the death of the agent:
The LA Times reported, “Brandon Judd, a Border Patrol agent and president of the San Diego-based National Border Patrol Council union that represents 16,000 agents,” said, “What we know is that Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez appears to have been ambushed by a group of illegal aliens whom he was tracking. Our agents’ reports from the ground say that he was struck in the head multiple times with a rock or rocks.”
The AP reported early Tuesday morning that, “Rogelio Martinez was found at the bottom of a 14-foot culvert and that investigators believe he may have fallen.” But, the AP quotes an anonymous source further, suggesting that the area where the agents were harmed is a known for drug smuggling activity. “Agents often look for drugs in culverts,” the AP report states. And, “Cabrera said agents who responded to the scene described it as "grisly" and said Martinez and his partner had "extensive injuries." Chris Cabrera is a spokesman for a border patrol agents union, the report states.
The El Paso Times interviewed Rogelio Martinez’s father. His son worked nights in the Big Bend Sector and frequently carpooled to work from El Paso. Rogelio loved his career in the CBP.
The New York Times interviewed the family of the slain agent. Martinez had an 11-year-old son. His father was born in Mexico and now a citizen of the U.S. after immigrating here to legally work in construction. Martinez’s aunt is in favor of building a wall along the border.
Right-leaning news sources are pushing the narrative that the incident gives support to the idea of building a border wall. Meanwhile, left-leaning news sources are stressing the theory that both agents were injured in a fall or accident.
The truth may be somewhere in between. But don’t count on the Van Horn paper of record to get to the bottom of it. Their editor announced on Facebook that she is not interested in reporting on the story until the results of the FBI investigation are released. “When more information becomes available, as the investigation progresses, The Advocate will keep its readers informed with accurate and reliable information,” stated Gilda Morales, Editor, Van Horn Advocate.