Two Florida sheriff’s deputies with a newborn baby killed themselves within days of each other, leaving their 1-month-old son an orphan, an official said.
St. Lucie County Deputy Clayton Osteen died Jan. 2 and Deputy Victoria Pacheco took her life “in the wake of Deputy Osteen’s death,” Sheriff Ken Mascara said in a statement on Tuesday.
“As sheriff, I saw these two deputies as young, ambitious, and a great compliment to my already amazing group of professionals,” Mascara said.
“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.”
The sheriff’s office responded to a call just before midnight on New Year’s Eve and found that Osteen, who was off duty, had tried to kill himself. His family removed him from life support Sunday, Mascara said.
On Tuesday, the sheriff’s office learned of Pacheco’s suicide, although the sheriff didn’t specify when she died. The name of the child wasn’t shared.
“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 well-being and normalize the conversation about the challenges so many of us face on a regular basis,” Mascara said.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.
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