It is with deep regret that this week we said goodbye to two team members, Deputy Juan Menchaca Jr., 70, and Detention Officer Joel Garcia. D.O. Garcia, 49, passed away after a long battle with an illness. He was a Katy High School graduate and served our country in the U.S. Air Force. He later served with us for 17 years.
Our brother and teammate, Deputy Juan Menchaca, died on Saturday after a courageous battle against COVID-19. He is survived by his wife, Melissa, and seven adult children. He is the second Sheriff’s Office employee to die after contracting coronavirus. Sgt. Raymond Scholwinski died of the virus on May 6.
Deputy Menchaca began his law enforcement career at Nacogdoches Police Department. He joined our Harris County Sheriff’s Office family back in 2006 and was most recently assigned to the courts’ division. He was a beloved member of our agency, and he will be terribly missed by all of us who had the honor of knowing him.
Deputy Menchaca was born to protect and serve. He received an accommodation in June 2019 for helping save a toddler. On November 13, 2018, he observed Deputy Neomi Roberts administering aid to a 2-year-old boy and responded to assist. Due to the quick actions of Deputy Roberts and Deputy Menchaca they were able to free the obstruction that was blocking the child’s airway. The child was able to breathe again before losing consciousness.
He was looking forward to retiring and spending quiet time in the country. Deputy Menchaca had a special way of putting people at ease. He listened. He showed genuine compassion to everyone he encountered. He loved his community, and his community loved him back.
Please continue to pray for the families of Deputy Menchaca, and Detention Officer Joel Garcia, during this tremendously sad and difficult time. Donations for Deputy Juan Mencheca’s family and Detention Officer Joel Garcia’s family may be made in their names to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Benevolence Association.
We will miss them and forever keep them and their families in our hearts. Your brothers and sisters in blue have the watch from here.
We are here to help you
Earlier this week our deputies responded to the 6600 block of Rosebrook after they were informed by a witness of a 17-year-old male found hanging from a tree in the playground area. I personally went to this scene. While this is an apparent suicide, our investigators launched a full investigation from the get-go. An autopsy is pending. Our condolences go out to his family and friends. May he rest in peace.
We need to continue to raise awareness about suicide prevention. This year alone, our Crime Scene Investigators have responded to 76 suicides, 26 of them by hanging.
If you are thinking of harming yourself, please seek help. Your life matters. Please dial the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255). The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD at 833-251-7544. You can also call 713-221-6000 or 911 if it’s an emergency. Please remember that you are not alone, we are here for you.
Tomorrow marks the first day of summer, and it’s going to be a hot couple of months! That’s why we created a vehicle reminder to help you check your backseat if you have children or pets. Click here to download the flyer, print it, and have a safe and happy summer!
With the rise of COVID-19 cases in the last couple of days, we should keep doing everything in our power to stop the spread. Getting past this virus is a shared responsibility. Practice social distancing whenever you can, wash your hands, cover your face with a mask, and help us flatten the curve.
The Harris County Public Health encourages residents to get tested for the virus. Click here for more information about free testing. Please remember if you need help or advice dealing with the pandemic, visit readyharris.org. If you don’t have internet access please call 211. There are programs in place to assist with basic needs including housing, food, and healthcare.
I wish everyone a safe and fun Father’s Day weekend! To all the dads out there, may your day be filled with happiness. To all of our residents, I appreciate all of your support for our agency as we continue to serve and protect you and your families. Let’s continue to work together and stay strong. God bless you, and God bless the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.