Murder-suicide likely in border agent deaths
(Note: The investigation has been turned over to tribal police by the FBI.)
June 12, 2004
Tucson, Arizona - Two U.S. Border Patrol agents died in an apparent murder-suicide south of Tucson early Friday, officials said.
The two agents, a 45-year-oldman and a 31-year-old woman, were from the El Paso Sector in Texas, said El Paso Sector spokesman Doug Mosier.
The male agent, Arturo Betancourt, was a supervisory agent who had been on the job for 15 years.
The woman, Elizabeth Granillo, had been an agent for two years.
Mosier said he didn't know whether Betancourt was Granillo's supervisor. He also wouldn't say whether they'd been in a relationship.
The bodies were found in a vehicle about 10 miles southwest of Tucson on the San Xavier [Indian] Reservation, said Chief Richard Saunders of the Tohono O'odham Police Department.
He said the woman had been shot three times and the man once. They were not in uniform, but were identified by agency credentials found on their bodies.
No suicide note was found at the scene, about a mile southeast of Mission San Xavier del Bac, he said. One handgun was found.
Police found the bodies about 2:30 a.m. Friday when they responded to a report of an abandoned vehicle on a dirt road near Interstate 19.
The FBI, which has jurisdiction in certain felonies on Indian reservations, did a preliminary investigation, then turned the case over to tribal police, said FBI spokeswoman Susan Herskovits.
Meanwhile, agents in El Paso will have counseling services made available to them through the agency, Mosier said.
The last off-duty Border Patrol agent to die in the region was Jorge Luis Salomon, 23.
Salomon had traveled to Cananea, Sonora, in February 2003 after befriending a man who was a drug-smuggler. They joined others in Cananea and when they learned Salomon was a Border Patrol agent, they beat him to death.
Four people are in custody in Sonora pending an investigation. A fifth remains at large.
The last known suicide of a federal agent in Southern Arizona was U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement interim director Tom V. DeRouchey.
He shot himself in March while driving on Interstate 10 in Marana on his way to a press conference in Tucson.