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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.

Out of 595 people who were released on $0 bail from April 2020 through June 2021, 420 were re-arrested, with 123 of them arrested for violent crimes
As of Monday morning, 34 of the jail’s 2,864 inmates were COVID-positive
After administrators at the Portland jail revoked her security clearance, the woman was forced to take a pay cut to work at a different jail, according to a lawsuit
The individual was reportedly immediately isolated and contact tracing is underway