COVID-19

Texas Department of Criminal Justice Reports 5 COVID-19 Related Deaths

The Texas Juvenile Justice Department also announced new COVID-19 cases among staff at facilities across the state

File photo of a Texas prison.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has reported that five individuals have died, likely due to COVID-19 complications.

Christopher Brown, 42, died on Aug. 27 at Hospital Galveston. He was transported from the Estelle Unit in Huntsville on Aug. 13 after testing positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 11.

According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Brown's autopsy results indicated that in addition to pre-existing medical conditions, COVID-19 was his cause of his death.

Brown had served 10 years of a 99-year sentence out of Jefferson County.

Sylvia Ortiz, 52, died on Aug. 28 at a local hospital in Texas City. She tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 14 and was transported from the Carole Young Unit in Dickinson on Aug. 16.

Her autopsy results indicated that her cause of death was COVID-19, in addition to pre-existing medical conditions, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said.

Ortiz had served nine years of a 10-year sentence out of Dawson County.

Joseph Mendoza, 54, died Aug. 20 at a local hospital in Beaumont. He was transported from the Leblanc Unit in Beaumont on Aug. 18 after testing positive for COVID-19.

According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Mendoza's autopsy results revealed that COVID-19 and preexisting health conditions were his cause of his death. He had served four years on an 18-year sentence out of Bexar County.

Ruben Magana, 58, died Aug. 28 at Hospital Galveston. He was transported from the Connally Unit in Kenedy on July 29.

Magana tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 12, and his autopsy results indicated that COVID-19 was the immediate cause of his death.

He had served 17 years of an 40-year sentence out of Guadalupe County.

Rogelio Paiz, 68, died on Aug. 28 at a local hospital in Conroe. He tested positive for the virus on July 29, and he was transported from the Estelle Unit in Huntsville on Aug. 4.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice said Paiz's autopsy revealed that in addition to pre-existing medical conditions, COVID-19 was the cause of his death.

Paiz had served 27 years of an 35-year sentence out of Wilson County.

According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, there have been 265,838 offenders and 104,377 employees tested for COVID-19. Of those tested, 27,273 offenders and 7,730 staff have tested positive for COVID-19 in both symptomatic and asymptomatic testing.

There have been 24,081 offenders and 6,600 employees who have recovered, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said 177 offender deaths have been connected to COVID 19, and an additional 43 are under investigation. There have also been 27 employee line of duty deaths from COVID-19, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said.

The Texas Juvenile Justice Department also announced new COVID-19 cases among staff at facilities across the state.

Two staff members at the McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility in Mart and one staff member at the Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex in Brownwood have tested positive for COVID-19, TJJD said.

According to TJJD, since the start of the pandemic, 264 staff members and 249 youth at the agency’s facilities have tested positive for COVID-19.

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