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July 16, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Correctional Officer Death at the Robertson Unit

(Abilene, TX) – On Saturday, July 16, 2016 at approximately 3 a.m., a Correctional Officer at the Robertson Unit in Abilene, Texas was found unresponsive near the kitchen area of the prison. Life saving measures were immediately initiated and 55 year old Correctional Officer Mari Johnson was transported to Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene where she was pronounced deceased. The Office of Inspector General – TDCJ is investigating the incident as a homicide.

"Correctional officers have one of the most difficult jobs in all of state government protecting the public from dangerous individuals," said Brad Livingston, Executive Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. "Each day thousands of men and women in gray are carrying out that critical mission. This is a tragic reminder that carrying out that mission can lead to the ultimate sacrifice. Ms. Johnson made the ultimate sacrifice to keep this state safe. She will never be forgotten. We will see that the offender who committed this cowardly act is held accountable."

"In times like these, it's difficult to put into words the loss felt by the department when a correctional officer dies in the line of duty," said Dale Wainwright, Chairman of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice. "I ask the public to remember their acts of unselfishness, remember their many acts of courage, and remember the dedication and commitment demonstrated every day by correctional officers. Please pray for this officer's friends, family, and the department during this time."

Investigators with the Office of Inspector General – TDCJ are at the location and processing the crime scene. As this is an ongoing criminal investigation, the agency will not be releasing any additional information at this time.

Officer Johnson began employment with the agency in August 2009.

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