A new born baby has been orphaned after both his law enforcement parents took their own lives within days of each other.
On New Year’s Eve, officers of the St Lucie County Sheriff’s Department in Florida were called to reports of an attempted suicide shortly before midnight.
Cops learned the man involved was one of their own, Clayton Osteen, a deputy who had served on the force since November 2019, MailOnline reports.
The county sheriff Ken Mascara wrote in a statement that Osteen initially survived and was rushed to hospital but two days later his family chose to turn off his life support.
Osteen’s partner, Victoria Pachecho – who had been with the sheriff’s office since February 2020 – then took her own life one day later, orphaning the couple’s one-month-old son.
Mascara wrote: “Words cannot express the tremendous loss we all feel after losing these two members of our sheriff’s office family.”
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Officials are yet to release details about the nature and circumstances of their deaths.
But Mascara said deputies are “human” and often suffer with “stress”.
He said: “While it’s 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.”
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Osteen enlisted into the US Marines as a rifleman in May 2015. He appeared in a 2016 video for the corps about training in the jungles of Brunei.
Pachecho gave birth to the couple’s first child, a son, who they welcomed in mid-November.
Since the couple’s tragic passing, friends and colleague’s have shared tributes on social media.
Speaking of Osteen on Facebook, Ray Tourville wrote: “A true brother lost his internal battle.
“I struggle with finding the words to write that even remotely does him justice. I’m incredibly sorry that you felt this was your only option.”