A close family member will adopt the newborn son of two Florida sheriff’s deputies who recently committed suicide.
Deputy Clayton Osteen, 24, of the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office (SLCSO) attempted to take his own life on New Year’s Eve, according to a statement from Sheriff Ken J. Mascara of the SLCSO. Days later on January 2, Osteen’s family made the excruciatingly hard decision to remove him from life support.
On January 4, the SLCSO learned that 23-year-old Deputy Victoria Pacheco, “who shared a one-month-old son with Deputy Osteen, took her own life in the wake of Deputy Osteen’s death,” Mascara stated.
Their newborn son, Jayce Osteen, who was born on November 22, will be adopted by a “close family member,” according to a Go Fund Me page that was established to support the baby. Osteen’s friend Kelly Ridle created the fundraiser, KXAS-TV reports.
As of the evening of January 10, the page has raised over $115,000 for the baby boy, far surpassing the $10,000 goal.
Both Pacheco and Osteen were laid to rest on Saturday.
Today we say goodbye to our brother and sister, Deputy Clayton Osteen and Deputy Victoria Pacheco. May you rest in…
In the aftermath of their untimely and tragic deaths, the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office is mourning.
In his release regarding the deputies’ deaths, Sheriff Mascara stated in part:
As Sheriff, I saw these two deputies as young, ambitious, and a great compliment to my already great 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.
Law enforcement deal with not only the day-to-day stress we all face but also the stress of those whom they serve in our community, which can sometimes be very challenging.
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.
To anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 800-273- TALK (8255). The hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.