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Central Washington Sheriff's Deputy Dies Of COVID-19, Coroner Confirms

Grant County Sheriff's Office
Grant County Sheriff's Deputy Jon Melvin was found in his home in Desert Aire, Washington, on Dec. 11, 2020. He was due to retire early this year.

A central Washington sheriff’s deputy has died of COVID-19,  according to the Grant County Coroner's office. 

Jon Melvin, 60, was found Dec. 11, 2020, in bed at his home in Desert Aire, in southwestern Grant County. Fellow deputies were checking on his welfare after family members were unable to reach him.

“He had pneumonia due to COVID-19,” Jerry Jasman, chief investigator with the Grant County Coroner's office, said Monday.

This marks the first known sheriff’s deputy in Washington to die of COVID-19. There have been nearly a half dozen other Washington law enforcement officers to die of COVID-19 complications: two state corrections officers, another corrections officer from Yakima County, a police officer from Bainbridge Island and a federal officer

Grant County Deputy Melvin had served over 35 years in law enforcement. He was hired in May 1984 and spent most of his career as a Grant County deputy. Melvin was preparing to retire in early 2021 once he reached 36 years of service.

In addition to patrol, Melvin served in a wide range of special assignments, including the off-road vehicle unit, search and rescue, marine, and as a school resource officer at Wahluke schools in Mattawa. He was also the community deputy for Desert Aire.

“Deputy Melvin was a well-rounded, highly-skilled deputy whose intelligence was outweighed only by his compassion and willingness to always help others,” Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones said in a statement. “Jon will be deeply missed.”

The Grant County Sheriff’s Office says it will assist Melvin’s family with arrangements. 

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.