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Parents, son felled by virus near Shiprock

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Parents, son felled by virus near Shiprock

Jimmy and Rachel Walters (Courtesy of Surina Whitehorse) Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Jimmy Walters was an old-school “hellfire and brimstone” pastor at a Baptist church on the Navajo Nation.

His wife, Rachel Walters, was equally devout and spent her time caring for their children, tending to their home and weaving Navajo rugs to sell.

Their son, 48-year-old Davis Begaye, lived with them in a four-bedroom house overlooking the mesas, plains and Ute Mountain in the small community of Cudei outside of Shiprock. He worked at the Home Depot in Farmington for several years. Davis Begaye (Courtesy of Surina Whitehorse) That’s where the family suspects Begaye got infected with COVID-19 — the illness caused by the coronavirus — in early April.

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Over the next three weeks, Begaye, and then his parents, died from the disease, one after the other.

Now three siblings are left, still in quarantine after testing positive themselves.

“Out here it’s quiet,” said Marvin Walters, who lives in Albuquerque but is staying in the house at Cudei for at least the next month. “I just sit out here with my thoughts and wonder what’s next. And at the same time remember my family.”Marvin said he took leave from his job to return to San Juan County and help his parents, who were making arrangements for Begaye’s funeral and caring for his other brother, Murphy, who has cerebral palsy.Shortly after Begaye died, his mother, 68-year-old Rachel, started feeling sick and was admitted to the Indian Health Service Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock. A couple of days later her husband, Jimmy, 71, joined her there.The couple died four days apart, first Rachel […]

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