US plays indirect role in investigation of Bobby Salcedo murder in Mexico

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AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Students Aldo Vazquez, 17, left, and Juan Guerero, 10, right, pause next to a photo of late Augustin Roberto 'Bobby' Salcedo, during candle light vigil at Mountain View High School in El Monte, Calif., Monday, Jan. 4, 2010. Augustin Roberto 'Bobby' Salcedo, an assistant principal at El Monte High School was murdered in Gomez Palacio, Mexico, Dec. 30, 2009. Salcedo and his wife were there for the holidays visiting family members.

When an American is killed in another country, the U.S. government gets involved - but not directly.

It's not like the movies where FBI agents rush in to take over a murder investigation, no matter which side of the border it happened on.

The U.S. has no law enforcement jurisdiction in Mexico. The FBI cannot investigate the Salcedo killing; it can only monitor the work of Mexican law enforcement. The FBI can consult on a case, but only if authorities in Mexico ask for help. The FBI has offered assistance to Mexican law enforcement officials in the Salcedo murder, including investigations on this side of the border.

A State Department source says U.S. Consulate officials in Mexico are in close contact with law enforcement in Durango and have emphasized "the urgency" of arresting and prosecuting Salcedo's killers.

Salcedo's Congresswoman Judy Chu is also urging authorities in Durango to solve the murder. She says the community deserves answers and justice.

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