This is such a terrible tragedy.
Two sheriff’s deputies from Florida left behind their one-month-old son when they both died by suicide within days of each other, per a statement from the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday.
Clayton Osteen reportedly attempted suicide on New Year’s Eve. His family “made the very difficult decision to take him off life support” on January 2. Victoria Pacheco took her own life shortly thereafter.
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On a GoFundMe page created for the infant, a friend of the family explained:
“Baby Jayce Osteen was born November 22, 2021 to Deputies Clayton Osteen and Victoria Pacheco of the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office. Clayton and Victoria were joy-filled, first-time parents excited about their growing family, enamored with their baby Jayce, and so in love with each other. Tragically, for reasons completely unknown and totally out of character, Clayton took his own life December 31st, 2021. Reeling from the shock of loss, Victoria took her own life two days later.”
The GoFundMe stated that the child “needs the support of community and country to help provide for him going forward.” They wrote:
“The families of Clayton and Victoria are so grateful for all prayers and support received. All donations will be used for enriching Jayce’s life experiences and securing a brighter future.”
In his own statement, Sheriff Ken J. Mascara wrote that the deputies’ passing was a “tremendous loss” for their workplace family. He wrote:
“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.”
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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.”
We can’t imagine how awful this is for Clayton and Victoria’s families. We hope their child has an ample support system and will be raised with love in his parents’ memories. Our hearts go out to all those affected by the loss during this difficult time.
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.
[Image via GoFundMe]