On New Year’s Eve, just before midnight, 24-year-old sheriff deputy Clayton Osteen from Florida attempted suicide. No one could possibly explain what made this young and successful man take his own life. He was a husband and a father to one-month-old baby.
Deputy Osteen died two days later, leaving his family behind.
As his family and friends mourned hiss loss and were trying to understand what triggered this tragedy, his girlfriend and the mother of his child, deputy colleague Victoria Pacheco, killed herself days after, leaving her son an orphan.
Everyone was in complete shock. The couple was described as a happy one. According to their family and friends, they were both very excited for welcoming their bundle of joy into the world, and until now, the circumstances surrounding both tragedies remain unclear.
“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,” St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara said.
Sadly, baby Jayce was left without parents. This unfortunate fact made many concerned for his life as an orphan.
One of Osteen’s friends, Kelly Ridle, created a GoFundMe page in order to reduce the uncertainty regarding Jayce’s future.
“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,” she wrote in the description of the page.
A lot of people who were deeply touched by the loss of Osteen and Pacheco donated, and so far, $121,000 have been raised. Kelly thanked everyone for their generosity and compassion.
In the midst of the grieving for two young lives lost, Kelly shared that a close family member will adopt the baby boy.
Two young people who seemed to have everything they had ever wished for and whose lives were ahead of them decided to take their own lives, and these tragedies opened up a debate about mental health.
”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 said.
The remains of Osteen and Pacheco were laid to rest on January 8. May they rest in peace.