Newborn Orphaned After Florida Sheriff Deputy Parents Die by Suicide Within Days of Each Other

The couple welcomed their first child on November 22.

A one-month old baby has been left orphaned in Florida after his parents — both sheriff’s deputies — took their own lives within days of each other.

St. Lucie County Deputy Clayton Osteen died by suicide on January 2; his girlfriend Deputy Victoria Pacheco, who had just given birth to their son on November 22, then took her life “in the wake of Deputy Osteen’s death,” Sheriff Ken Mascara confirmed Wednesday.

“On New Year’s Eve, shortly before midnight, our agency responded to a call where we learned that Deputy Osteen, who was off duty at the time, attempted to take his own life,” the Sheriff said in a statement. “On Sunday, January 2, Deputy Osteen’s family made the very difficult decision to remove him from life support.”

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“This morning we learned that Deputy Pacheco, who shared a one-month-old son with Deputy Osteen, took her own life in the wake of Deputy Osteen’s death.”

“Words cannot express the tremendous loss we all feel after losing these two members of our Sheriff’s Office family.”

Sheriff Mascara described the pair as young, ambitious and a great compliment to his team. “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.”

He added that while it was “impossible for us to fully comprehend the private circumstances leading up to this devastating loss”, he hoped it would be a catalyst for change in easing the stigma around discussing mental health.

According to a GoFundMe set up to help their baby, 24-year-old Osteen, and Pacheco, 23, 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.”

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Clayton, it said, was Deputy of the Year 2020 and a SWAT team member, who also served in the United States Marine Corp.

According to WPTV, both officers had been commended for each saving two overdose drug victim’s lives on separate occasions in the past two years.

“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,” Sheriff Mascara said.

An obituary for Osteen describes him as “one hell of a funny guy, someone you could always count on in the time of need, and loved being an uncle.”

“He absolutely adored his significant other and mother of his child. But of all his accomplishments, he was most proud of being a dad.”

Osteen’s brother, who is also a St. Lucie Deputy, will now care for his nephew Jayce.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress.

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