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Miss. correctional deputy dies from COVID-19

Cpl. Robert Verzal was a 10-year veteran with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office; he was 39

Corporal Robert Verzal

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office

By Warren Kulo

JACKSON COUNTY, Mississippi — Thirty-five more Mississippi coast residents have died from COVID-19 this week, including a 39-year-old Jackson County deputy.

The bulk of the deaths were reported by the Mississippi Department of Health on Wednesday, when 16 deaths were reported on the coast, with four in Jackson County and 12 in Harrison County. If there was good news to be had, it was that Thursday’s update only reported one death on the coast, in Jackson County.

Jackson County now totals 21,530 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak in March 2020, with 297 deaths. On Jan. 1 of this year, the county’s totals stood at 8,820 cases and 159 deaths. In the eight months since, cases have increased by more than 240%, while deaths have risen by 86.8%.

Among those who have died from COVID-19 this week is Cpl. Robert Verzal, a 10-year-veteran of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office who was the lead correctional deputy at the Jackson County Adult Detention Center, according to Sheriff Mike Ezell.

“We are all very saddened by Deputy Verzal’s passing,” Ezell said in a statement. “We at the sheriff’s department have lost a loved and respected member of our family. I ask that you please keep Corporal Verzal’s wife, Julie, their family and friends, and is fellow deputies in your prayers.”

Verzal was a native of Pascagoula who joined the JCSO in 2011. He was described as an avid hunter and motorcyclist and loved traveling to Gatlinburg, Tenn., with his family. Ezell said Verzal had been hospitalized for several weeks, fighting what was ultimately a losing battle with the coronavirus.

In addition to his wife, Verzal leaves behind three children, his mother, and four brothers.

Services for Verzal will be held Sept. 8 at Heritage Funeral Home in Moss Point, with visitation from 10 a.m. to noon and a service to follow immediately after. Burial will be in Jackson County Memorial Park in Pascagoula.

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