Two more Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees may have died due to COVID-19

Two correctional officers may have died due to COVID-19, the Texas Department of Correctional Justice (TCDJ) said.

Eleven-year TDCJ veteren, Maria Mendez, 59, died on Saturday morning after being hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms on April 12 and being placed on a ventilator later that month after testing positive for the virus.

Twelve-year veteran, Jesse Bolten, 62, died on Friday evening after being admitted for feeling stroke-like symptoms and later being put on life support. He first tested negative for COVID-19 but later tested positive.

"Even in these unprecedented times there are moments that are especially jarring," said Bryan Collier, TDCJ's Executive Director. "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 Mendez and Bolton."


Seven TDCJ employees and 27 offenders so far have died from COVID-19 deaths that have a preliminary cause of COVID-19.

Officials said 582 TDCJ employees, staff and contractors and 1,427 offenders have tested positive for the virus. There are also 82 employees and 371 offenders who have medically recovered from COVID-19.
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