Death of a boy in Fort Worth

Coronavirus history

One Texas family is mourning the loss of a 9-year-old boy who took a turn for the worse in just a matter of hours.

JJ Boatman was known for his big bear hugs.

“He was a loving, caring little boy, Gabriel Ayala, JJ’s uncle, said. “Like, every time he would see you or any family member, he would run up and hug you.”

Just a few weeks ago, JJ was celebrating his ninth birthday with tacos and cake.

“We never knew this was going to be his last birthday.”

Ayala says the little boy had asthma, but was still very active, always playing with his cousins or older sisters.

“He was just running around and playing earlier that day, and by the nighttime he was yelling and crying to his mom that he couldn’t breathe,” Ayala said. “His mom went over, and his face was blue already and his lips were blue.”

Ayala says JJ was careflighted from his home in Vernon to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.

By the time he arrived, his lungs were filled with fluid.

Ayala says the doctors told his mom JJ died from complications related to COVID-19.

“She didn’t know that she was going to come home empty-handed without her son. It’s just hard, of course. That was her baby boy. That was her only son.”

Ayala says it shows anyone can get the virus.

And he hopes people continue to take the threat seriously — as his family grieves for the 9-year-old whose life was cut short.

“We’re going to miss his whole life. Going to miss his whole life. His life hadn’t even started.”


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