Beto Unit inmate out of Hopkins County dies in cell, cause presumed to be COVID-19

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ANDERSON COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – An inmate in the Beto prison unit in Anderson County has died, pesumably of COVID-19.

In a statement on its website, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said 68-year-old James Matthews was was found unresponsive in his cell on April 13. He began showing possible COVID-19 symptoms on April 9 when he was tested for the virus.

TDCJ said the preliminary autopsy suggests COVID-19 is believed to have contributed to his death.

Matthews had served 17 years of a 40 year sentence out of Hopkins County.

He was one of four Texas prison inmates whose deaths TDCJ announced on its website. two inmates were from the Estelle Unit and the other was from the Wynne Unit.

TDCJ said 11 other deaths are under investigation and pending preliminary autopsy results.

There are 394 TDCJ employees, staff or contractors who have tested positive for COVID-19 and 1,118 offenders who have tested positive. Fifty-four employees and 207 offenders have medically recovered from COVID-19.

More than 20,000 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.

More than 42,000 offenders, including in several prisons in East Texas, are on precautionary lockdown, which extend for 14 days from the date of a positive COVID-19 test.

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