Mother seeks answers after her son dies at Willacy County State Jail

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After her son became sick, Gloria Compean received a phone call.

Inmates at the Willacy County State Jail — where her son, Sergio Compean Jr., was serving a prison sentence — thought her son was on the verge of death.

They somehow obtained a phone and called Gloria.

"He can't speak. He couldn't speak. He's turning colors. And we've tried to tell them to help, but they aren't helping," Gloria said, recalling her conversation with the inmate who called her. "He said: 'Tell him something. He's fading.' That's what they told me. So I said to my son: 'Don't leave me. You can't leave me.'"

Sergio died on Oct. 14 after being taken to a local hospital. Before he died, Sergio tested positive for COVID-19.

After she received the phone call, Gloria contacted the prison over and over, concerned about his medical care.

Gloria said she spoke to someone named Joe, who said he wasn't a doctor or a nurse. Gloria wanted to know why a medical professional wasn't involved.

Asked about Compean's death, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman said a nurse is always available to inmates.

"Via the digital medical system connection, there's always a nurse available 24/7. In this particular case the offender did complain of not feeling well to a correctional officer. That correctional officer took the offender down to the digital medical system where he had a visit with a nurse," according to the statement. "That nurse determined, after evaluating his symptoms, that he could move to outside medical in the morning. This was on Saturday evening. He was then sent back to his housing unit, however his symptoms continued to progress and he was complaining again of shortness of breath. He was brought back to that digital medical system visit, where the nurse then authorized his immediate transport to a hospital."

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