A video shared by his family with ThisisReno shows Salazar saying that he did not jump from the Amtrak train he was riding from Denver to Sacramento.
“I did not jump off the train,” he said. “I’d never, ever try to kill myself.”
His statement contradicts what Amtrak’s Police Chief, Neil Trugman, said at a press conference in May. Trugman described Salazar as “distraught” while on the train between Reno and Truckee. The Chief claimed that, after the incident, Amtrak investigators spoke with 300 people as part of the investigation, including Salazar’s friends.
“He had several conversations with passengers and crew while aboard that train,” Trugman said. “He was very distraught. All indications right now appear that it was an attempted suicide. There’s nothing to suggest he involuntarily was removed from that train.”
Eyewitness Disputes Amtrak’s Version of Events
An eyewitness who was in the car with Salazar also disputed what Trugman told the news media.
The eyewitness said they were interviewed by Amtrak Police but said a number of obvious leads were not pursued or were dismissed by investigators. The eyewitness spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person believed that they were being subjected to investigation by the FBI, which called the person as part of the investigation.
“No one was walking back and forth throughout car pacing like they were in trouble,” the person said. “Nobody acted strangely, and hardly anybody was walking through the car.”
Since Salazar’s incident, some people have come forward with concerns about similar deaths or injuries sustained by passengers while traveling on Amtrak. Three people, for example, died or were found injured on the same train line — the California Zephyr — in Elko County since 2003. Similar incidences since 1990 have cause people to speculate that a killer may be traveling the rails. Critics said the deaths show that, at the least, security on Amtrak trains is lax and question why incidences continue to occur.
In August, Amtrak spokesperson Christina Leeds said that investigation is ongoing.
“The investigation remains open, pending any new information or the opportunity to interview Mr. Salazar,” she said. “After an extensive investigation by the Amtrak Police Department, in coordination with other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, there is no indication of criminal activity at this time.”
Salazar’s family said Amtrak has made no attempt to contact him since he began speaking.
UPDATE (11/29/18): Amtrak today responded to the latest news of Salazar’s statement.
“We are glad Aaron is improving and look forward to talking with him and any other witnesses as part of the investigation,” said spokesperson Olivia Irvin.