Former SPI officer dies from COVID-19

Juan Manuel “Meme” Ochoa in an undated photo. Courtesy of SPIPD.

Staff report

Juan Manuel “Meme” Ochoa, a former South Padre Island Police Department (SPIPD) officer, has died from COVID-19 at 57-years-old, South Padre Island Mayor Patrick McNulty said on Facebook. 

Ochoa died at Valley Baptist Hospital in Harlingen on July 30, according to SPIPD. 

Several Laguna Madre area residents took to Facebook to post their condolences, including former colleagues and SPIPD.

“He was a well respected and most beloved member of our team and he will be greatly missed,” a post from SPIPD’s Facebook page states. 

Ochoa joined SPIPD in 1993 then “after a break of several years,” SPIPD said in their post, returned to the department in 2008, retiring in 2017. Ochoa was also an officer for the Port Isabel Police Department. 

“He was an excellent officer for the City,” McNulty said on Facebook. “My thoughts and prayers for his wife and family. He will be missed.” 

At the time of his death, he owned a private security company, according to his obituary, and was a reserve officer with SPIPD. 

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