In the latest Walker County press release, there are 354 total positive cases with 15 fatalities. Texas has 37,860 COVID-19 positive cases
with 1049 Fatalities with 20,141 recoveries.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is saddened to announce the deaths of 2 employees that may
be connected to the COVID-19 virus.
Correctional Officer Maria Mendez of the Wynne Unit was hospitalized after feeling short of breath after work on
April 12, 2020 with a cough and slight fever. On April 15th, she was transferred to Methodist Hospital in Houston
where she was placed on a ventilator in Intensive Care. Mendez passed away this morning May 9th, 2020. She
was 59 years old and had tested positive for COVID-19 in April. Ms. Mendez served the Texas Department of
Criminal Justice for nearly 11 years.
62-year-old Jesse Bolton’s death is currently under investigation. He was a Correctional Officer at the Eastham
Unit with 12 years of service. On May 6, 2020 he began feeling ill with stroke like symptoms and was taken to
Huntsville Memorial Hospital. Bolton was tested for COVID-19 and that test returned negative. He was
transferred to Conroe Regional Hospital where he was placed on life support. Bolton was pronounced dead May
8th at 4:00 pm. A second test for COVID 19 returned positive.
“Even in these unprecedented times there are moments that are especially jarring,” said Bryan Collier TDCJ
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 Menendez and
In total there have been 7 TDCJ employee deaths that have a preliminary cause of COVID-19. There have also
been 27 offender deaths with a preliminary COVID-19 cause and an additional 17 offender deaths that are under
investigation and pending preliminary autopsy results.
In total there are 582 TDCJ employees, staff or contractors who have tested positive for COVID-19 and 1427
offenders who have tested positive. There are now 82 employees and 371 offenders who have medically
recovered from COVID-19. https://tdcj.texas.gov/covid-19/offender_mac.html
20,277 offenders are on medical restriction because they may have had contact with either an employee or
offender with a positive or pending COVID-19 test.