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2 Texas correctional officers die from COVID-19

Maria Mendez worked at the Wynne Unit in Huntsville and Jesse Bolton worked at the Eastham Unit in Houston County

By Sarah Calams

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Two corrections officers with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice died from COVID-19. reported that Officer Maria Mendez, 59, who worked at the Wynne Unit in Huntsville, died Saturday and Officer Jesse Bolton, 62, who worked at the Eastham Unit in Houston County, died Friday.

Mendez, an 11-year TDCJ veteran, was hospitalized April 12 and placed on a ventilator days later. Bolton, who started to experience stroke-like symptoms, was taken to a hospital Wednesday and placed on life support shortly after.

“Even in these unprecedented times there are moments that are especially jarring,” Bryan Collier, TDCJ executive director, said. “Losing any employee is difficult, but learning of two deaths in a single day is unthinkable. The thoughts and prayers of the entire agency are with all the family and friends of both Officers Menendez and Bolton.”

According to the TDCJ, nearly 600 employees and over 1,400 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.