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Texas correctional officer dies from COVID-19

Coy D. Coffman Jr., 65, a nine-year TDCJ veteran, worked at the Barry B. Telford Unit


Coffman had not been at work since April 5.

Courtesy photo

By Sarah Calams

NEW BOSTON, Texas — A veteran correctional officer died Sunday from COVID-19 complications.

The Texarkana Gazette reported that Coy D. Coffman Jr., 65, who was a nine-year veteran of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s force of COs, worked at the Barry B. Telford Unit. Coffman had not been at work since April 5, according to the report.

“On April 14, 2020, he began suffering symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and was tested the next day. On April 17, he was admitted to a local hospital in Texarkana due to possible complications from COVID-19. Coffman’s test returned positive on April 19. Several days later, his condition began deteriorating and sadly Coffman passed away yesterday (Sunday) evening,” according to TDCJ’s website.

Currently, 34 staff members and 36 inmates at the Telford Unit have tested positive for COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 virus has changed our state and our agency forever, but no one can imagine the impact to the Coffman family who has lost someone so close,” Bryan Collier, TDCJ executive director, said. “The thoughts and prayers of the TDCJ family are with those close to Officer Coffman. He died in the service of all Texans.”

A $15,000 bereavement grant was presented to Coffman’s wife, Debbie, to assist with any immediate financial needs.

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As of Monday morning, 34 of the jail’s 2,864 inmates were COVID-positive
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