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Local Vietnam veteran dies from COVID-19

Posted at 12:54 PM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 19:15:32-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Texas Department of Criminal Justice confirmed a local employee death from COVID-19 complications and five new inmate deaths that are likely connected to coronavirus.

77-year-old Industrial Specialist IV Charles Chacon Jr. died on Aug. 11 after 22 years of working at the TDCJ, according to the department.

Chacon worked in the garment factory at the McConnell Unit in Beeville. He was a Vietnam veteran with 20 years of service in the U.S. Navy.

“He was a very hard worker, dependable, friendly and known for being feisty at work,” said Bobby Lumpkin, TDCJ Manufacturing, Agribusiness, and Logistics director. “His sense of duty and hard work was instilled in him from his military service to his country, he displayed it every day. Mr. Chacon will be missed dearly.”

Officials say he was hospitalized with symptoms on July 6 at Christus Spohn Hospital - Beeville and tested positive for COVID-19 on July 13. On July 22 he was transferred to San Antonio Military Hospital before he died.

“It takes dedication to serve the state for more than two decades and our nation for 20 years before that,” said TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier. “TDCJ is a family in all roles each one just as key to our operations. Any loss impacts every part of that family.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Chacon family, McConnell Unit family, and the Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Logistics division. Charles Chacon Jr. will not be forgotten.”

The TDCJ says of the 240,366 employees and inmates tested for coronavirus, 22,750 have tested positive, 141 have died, and 18,382 have recovered.

The TDCJ also reported five new deaths recorded among inmates Tuesday.

They had ages ranging from 45 to 77 years old.

The TDCJ says not all patients had autopsies conducted, but preliminary autopsies and medical evidence suggests that COVID-19 had something to do with all of their deaths.

  • 45-year-old Daniel Campos died Aug. 5 at a hospital in Galveston. Campos tested positive for COVID-19 in early August. He had served nine years in Nueces County on a 65-year sentence.
  • 67-year-old Tommy Lee Freeman died Aug. 8 at a hospital in Galveston. Freeman tested positive for COVID-19 in late July. Freeman served 34 years in Limestone County on a life sentence.
  • 66-year-old Fernando Pena died Aug. 6 at a hospital in Galveston. Pena tested positive for COVID-19 in late July. He had served four years in Hale County on an 8-year sentence.
  • 45-year-old Daniel Campos died Aug. 5 at a hospital in Galveston. Campos tested positive for COVID-19 in early August. He had served nine years in Nueces County on a 65-year sentence.
  • 67-year-old Hugo Martinez died July 13 at a hospital in Galveston. Martinez tested positive for COVID-19 in early June. He had served 15 years in Guadalupe County on a 20-year sentence.
  • 77-year-old Floyd Thomas Scott died July 14 at a hospital in Tyler. Scott tested positive for COVID-19 in early June. He had served 21 years in Polk County on a 35-year sentence.

43 county deaths are currently under investigation.