NOTE: Nothing in this publishing or on this website should be taken as legal advice.
4 Cameron County Jail Deaths Since 2021
As the campaigns for Cameron County Sheriff start to wind up we reviewed the jail deaths reported to the Texas Attorney General’s Office since Eric Garza has taken office.
Garza took office on January 1, 2021, after defeating John Chambers with 61 percent of the votes. Garza was the first new sheriff since 2001.
Since his time in office, he has asserted pay disparity as an issue with understaffing of the jail. He has accused the Cameron County Commissioner’s Court of refusing to give deputies pay raises. He stated the deputies do not receive a livable wage.
In September of 2022, he was quoted as stating he was forced to eliminate the housing of federal inmates and this was due to the lack of detention officers.
Cameron County continues to list the starting pay for a Detention Officer as $30,998 per year. We are unsure if this is proudly promoted on the government website or despicably placed for political or other reasons. That is for you, the reader, to decide.
What we do know, is there were four deaths reported to the Texas Attorney General’s Office for in custody jail deaths since Garza took office. We do know Garza has a severe staffing shortage and the deputies are underpaid. We also know there were six inmate deaths between 2017 and 2020, under the late Sheriff Omar Lucio. We note the salary was not decreased once Garza took over.
Has the jail improved on this measure? We must look at the circumstances in both time spans. Again, something for the reader to decide.
The First Cameron County Jail Death Since 2021
May 4th 2022, at approximately 6:38am jailers at the Carrizalez/Rucker Detention center were conducting a visual walkthrough when they were informed by some inmates that one of the inmates in their cell had been feeling sick. Jailers approached the bunk where the female was laying down and attempted to wake her up. The inmate identified as Lidia Glover [ ] was unresponsive. EMS was called to location and they transported her to the Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville where she was pronounced dead at 7:27am. Cameron County Sheriff’s Office Investigators and Texas Ranger Patrick O’Connor responded to the Valley Regional Hospital and began an investigation.
On Thursday May 5th 2022, Investigator Alberto Renteria and Texas Ranger Antonio Rocha attended the Autopsy of the deceased Lidia Glover. Dr. Miller who preformed the autopsy mentioned she found some white dead skin on Ms. Grover’s stomach lining which is defined as a finding that causes her to believe Ms. Grover passed of Congestive Heart Failure. Dr. Miller also noted Ms. Grover’s liver had different shade of color and different characteristics that she describe to be a 2nd finding of Congestive Heart Failure.Custody Death Report, dated January 3, 2023, Reported by Juan Barron
The Second Cameron County Jail Death Since 2021
On Friday the 16th day of December 2022, Inmate Jose Sergio Valdez in seen in jail video surveillance doing some exercise before sitting down in a table to watch TV. Inmate suddenly collapses to the floor and is medically attended. Inmate got transported to the Valley Regional Medical where was was medical seen by a doctor. On Saturday the 17th day of December 2022 at approximately 4:44pm was the time of death of inmate Jose Sergio Valdez. Both the Medical Doctor at the Valley Regional Hospital and the Pathologist who conducted the autopsy concluded that inmate Jose Sergio Valdez had a brain aneurysm and added there was no indications of any trauma to the body.Custody Death Report, dated December 22, 2022, Reported by Juan Barron
The Third Cameron County Jail Death Since 2021
On Thursday January 26 2023, Inmate Johnny Gutierrez (39) hanged himself using a mattress cover while in custody at the Old County Jail (Single Cell). Inmate Johnny Gutierrez was transported immediately to the Valley Baptist Medical Center In Brownsville by EMS. Cameron County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division contacted Texas Department of Public Safety (Ranger Division) and notified them of incident. Texas Rangers responded to the Old County Jail and processed the single cell where the male inmate was housed.
On Friday January 27, 2023, at approximately 1402 hours, Inmate Johnny Gutierrez died at the Valley Baptist Medical Center Brownsville TX.Custody Death Report, dated January 31, 2023, Reported by Juan Barron
The Fourth Cameron County Jail Death Since 2021
Female inmate Sylvia Manuel was found on the floor unconscious on a single cell (shower area). An autopsy was ordered, and revealed the cause of death was Ruptured Myocardial Infarction. The death was ruled as natural cause. Texas Ranger Patrick O’Conner processed the scene and took lead in the investigation.Custody Death Report, dated July 31, 2023, Reported by Juan Barron
Election Year is Approaching
First, we have not endorsed/recommended any candidate for Cameron County Sheriff this election year – it is still early. We will be putting together some information for our readers to review. We find the office of Cameron County Sheriff to be an important office for the community.
This publishing is to assist our readers in reviewing an important topic involving a key role of the Cameron County Sheriff. We believe any deaths are bad while in custody, but we also understand the realization that life happens. We ponder which deaths were preventable and which were not and what could have prevented the ones that did occur.
A Couple of Our Other Reads
You may be interested in reading about our publishing on the Brownsville Police Departments 2022 disciplinary actions.
Or you may find our publishing on the suspension of a Cameron County Deputy Constable for Precinct 5, of interest.
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Categories: The Lone Star Review - State