TAHOKA, Texas — Lynn County Judge Mike Braddock on Thursday confirmed that a “Line of Duty Death” designation had been denied for Sheriff Abraham Vega who died on July 11 from complications of COVID-19.
Braddock said the determination came from Texas Association of Counties and not specifically from Lynn County.
“We cannot guarantee that he acquired it [COVID-19] on the job,” Braddock said.
“We were questioned, ‘Was it in the line of duty?’ We cannot guarantee that it was or that it wasn’t,” Braddock said.
Braddock was not certain of what the process might be for Vega’s family to request an appeal.
“I apologized to [Sheriff Vega’s widow] Rachel on behalf of all Texans because the county has DENIED his LODD,” said Charley Wilkison, Executive Director, Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT).
“I’ve encouraged her to request an appeal,” Wilkison said. A ruling on LODD determines eligibility for “all local, state and federal benefits” for Vega’s family.
“My heart breaks for Rachel and Abraham’s family. But just as important is for the local politicians to recognize the honor and sacrifice of Texas’ Finest who die from this horrific disease which they contracted in the line of duty,” Wilkison said.
CLARIFICATION: The following line has been added to this story. Braddock said the determination came from Texas Association of Counties and not specifically from Lynn County.