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Local veteran dies after a battle with COVID-19

Update 01/12/21

Family told News Channel 3 that Cruz Rocha III has passed away.

The Army veteran and civilian police officer was 36 years old. He leaves behind a wife and six children.

Original Report 01/11/21

Cruz Rocha III is a local 36-year-old Army veteran who is suffering from complications after getting COVID-19. His family said he was vaccinated.

"He is a very, very generous, wonderful man but in my eyes, he is my little boy," said his mother Rosa Ruiz-Rocha. "He needs our help and our prayers."

He is hospitalized with kidney failure and pneumonia at the ICU at Desert Regional Medical Center. However, his family is looking for help to fund his transfer to a hospital that offers ECMO services, which they said it would give Cruz the highest chance of survival.

ECMO stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. According to the American Thoracic Society, it's a life support machine for people who have severe and life-threatening illnesses that keep their heart or lungs from working properly.

Rocha is married to his wife Corrina, and together they have six children and are expecting another child in April. He was born and raised in the Coachella Valley and is now a civilian police officer at the 29 Palms Marine Base.

"He sacrificed for our country. He left his kids and his wife alone to go provide safety for us," said his cousin Racquel Lopez. "He's at the brink of fighting to stay alive, yes. And I say that with such a plain face because somebody needs to stay strong for our family."

The family started a GoFundMe to help pay for his treatment.

"We're hoping for that little miracle to happen," said Rosa Ruiz-Rocha.

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Marian Bouchot

Marian Bouchot is the weekend morning anchor and a reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. Learn more about Marian here.


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