1-Month-Old Baby Orphaned After Both Parents Die by Suicide Within Days of Each Other
The infant son of two Florida sheriff's deputies is orphaned after both of his parents took their own lives.
Clayton Osteen, 24, and Victoria Pacheco both died by suicide in the past week, the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office said on Tuesday.
Shortly before midnight on New Year's Eve, authorities received a call that Osteen had attempted suicide. He was transported to the hospital for his injuries.
On Jan. 2, Osteen's family decided to remove him from life support, the sheriff's office said.
In the wake of her partner's death, Pacheco also died by suicide, the sheriff's department learned on Tuesday. Osteen and Pacheco shared a 1-month-old son named Jayce.
Osteen joined the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office in 2019. In 2020, he was awarded deputy of the year, according to his obituary.
"Clayton was one hell of a funny guy, someone you could always count on in the time of need, and loved being an uncle," his loved ones wrote. "He absolutely adored his significant other and mother of his child. But of all his accomplishments, he was most proud of being a dad."
St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara issued a statement on Tuesday, writing: "Words cannot express the tremendous loss we all feel after losing these two members of our sheriff's office family."
He continued, "As sheriff, I saw these two deputies as young, ambitious, and a great compliment to my already amazing group of professionals. To the general public, and sometimes even myself, it's easy to view law enforcement as superhuman...but let's not forget that they're human just like us."
Mascara added that law enforcement often carries the weight of "the stress of those whom they serve" in addition to their own struggles.
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"While it is impossible for us to fully comprehend the private circumstances leading up to this devastating loss, we pray that this tragedy becomes a catalyst for change, a catalyst to help ease the stigma surrounding mental well-being and normalize the conversation about the challenges so many of us face on a regular basis," Mascara concluded his statement.
Several law enforcement agencies across the state of Florida shared their condolences in the wake of the two deputies' tragic deaths.
"To our brothers in blue, and to our own. Please, remember it is ok not to be ok. Help is always available," wrote the Osceola County Sheriff's Office.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.