After a two year battle, a state worker’s compensation judge has ruled that 5 children of Reeves County Deputy Jacob Rene Rayos are entitled to weekly workers compensation benefits. Rayos was killed in a line of duty traffic accident while chasing a suspect in April 2010.
The county had denied workers compensation benefits based an autopsy report that showed Rayos had marijuana in his system. CLEAT’s Chris Jones reviewed the autopsy report and discovered that the lab results had been incorrectly reported. The lab report indicated that the amount of substance found was 10 times LESS than reported and that the substance found was an inactive metabolite of marijuana. It turns out, CLEAT’s Chris McGill knew the medical examiner from his time as an El Paso crime scene officer. The ME was contacted and he quickly corrected the report and also issued a statement that the amount found in the officer’s system was a trace amount, just barely over the amount needed to even be reported. According to the ME the amount found could have been a result of second hand inhalation that occurred days or even weeks before the death. The ME also reported in the autopsy addendum that the officer was not intoxicated or impaired at the time of death.
Despite the correction, the county refused to approve the claim with workers compensation. CLEAT had to help the family locate a lawyer and then assisted with the workers comp appeal. After two different hearings, the hearing officer ruled in favor of the family. These children will now divide and collect over $750 a week in benefits until they are no longer dependants.