Newborn orphaned after police officer parents both die by suicide

·2-min read

Two Florida sheriff's deputies have taken their own lives just over a month after welcoming their newborn son.

St Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara announced on Tuesday (local time) the deaths of Deputy Clayton Osteen and Deputy Victoria Pacheco in a statement on Facebook.

He said Mr Osteen attempted to take his own like just before midnight on New Year’s Eve and was taken off life support on Sunday (local time).

Clayton Osteen and Victoria Pacheco at their baby shower.
The couple welcomed their son in November. Source: Facebook

After learning of her partner’s death, Ms Pacheco died by suicide, leaving their one-month-old son orphaned, Sheriff Mascara said.

"Words cannot express the tremendous loss we all feel after losing these two members of our sheriff's office family," he said.

"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.

 Deputy Clayton Osteen and Deputy Victoria Pacheco in their uniforms.
Mr Osteen attempted to take his own like just before midnight on New Year’s Eve and was taken off life support on Sunday. Source: NBC Miami

“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 it was “impossible” to comprehend the “private circumstances leading up to this devastating loss”.

“We pray that this tragedy become a catalyst for change, a catalyst to help ease the stigma surrounding mental well-being and normalise the conversation about the challenges so many of us face on a regular basis,” he said.

If you or someone you know needs support during this difficult time, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636.

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