Investigation into 22-year-old Aaron Salazar who was found gravely wounded and unconscious beside Amtrak railroads last May is ongoing, but Amtrak police, who have jurisdiction over the case, have already ruled out criminal activity.
"The investigation remains open, pending any new information or the opportunity to interview Mr. Salazar," read a statement from Amtrak police.
In fact, Amtrak police have asserted that Salazar may have jumped as a suicide attempt, but many close to him have strongly objected to that idea and called the allegation a “smear campaign to sweep Aaron’s story under the rug.”
That said, local politicians think there’s more going on here, according to the Sierra Sun.
“Aaron is a person of color who also identifies as gay, and his injuries suggest that this incident may have been a hate crime against him during an Amtrak layover in Truckee, California,” read a letter by Oregon’s Congressional delegation.
The letter was signed by Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Jeff Merkley, and Representatives Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader, Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici
In addition, an additional letter signed by Sen. Mazie Hirono and Sen. Brian Schatz and Representatives Colleen Hanabusa and Tulsi Gabbard stated:
"While the Hawai'i Congressional District respects the investigation process, we expect that Amtrak will conduct a thorough investigation and provide us and the Salazar family with a comprehensive and timely report of the events leading up to Mr. Salazar's injuries."
Salazar, who’s currently recuperating at the Craig Rehabilitation Hospital in Englewood, Colorado, is being watched over by family members who also feel that there’s more to the story.
"When asked about the train, he sadly cannot remember," Austin Sailas, Salazar's cousin, said on a GoFundMe page made to help pay Salazar’s medical fees. "With time and therapy he might be able to remember things on his own."
"Aaron has a long road ahead of him. We are very optimistic," added other cousin Sonia Trujillo, in a Facebook message.
Family members have shared that despite Aaron’s dodgy memory, he is showing signs of progress. He is no longer bedridden and instead is using a wheelchair. Plus, he is now able to eat solid food.
On top of creating that GoFundMe page, Salazar’s family has also created a petition requesting that the investigation be handed over to the FBI. You can click here to sign it.
h/t: Huffington Post, Sierra Sun