Funeral held for Border Patrol agent whose death in Texas remains a mystery

Pallbearers carry the casket of Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez into Our Lady of Guadalupe Church for a funeral Mass on Saturday in El Paso.
(Mark Lambie / El Paso Times)

Family, friends and law enforcement officers converged Saturday on west Texas to mourn a Border Patrol agent whose death last weekend in a rugged, remote area has not been explained.

Bagpipes played as pallbearers carried the U.S.-flag-draped coffin of Rogelio Martinez into a Catholic church in El Paso for a private funeral.

“It honors him to see law enforcement agencies from across the United States” attend the service, Border Patrol spokesman Ramiro Cordero told reporters gathered outside Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

Martinez died Sunday of injuries to his head and elsewhere, and his partner, whose name has not been released, was seriously injured. They were found late Saturday in a culvert in a rugged area near Van Horn, Texas, about 30 miles from the border with Mexico and 110 miles southeast of El Paso.


Speculation about the incident has run rampant, with several politicians saying the agent was attacked, including President Trump, who used the death to highlight his support for building a wall on the border.

Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr. in the FBI’s El Paso office has said investigators were treating the incident as a “potential assault,” but they could not rule out other scenarios.

Representatives from the Border Patrol’s union have insisted that the incident was an attack, based on the accounts of other agents who responded to the scene. Chris Cabrera, a spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council, told the Associated Press that agents at the scene called it “grisly.”

However, a U.S. official with knowledge of the investigation told AP on Monday that the agents may have fallen, and that the surviving agent had no memory of his work shift that preceded the incident. The official, who is not authorized to speak publicly by name, spoke on condition of anonymity.