Florida cops Clayton Osteen and Victoria Pacheco who died by suicide orphaned 1-month-old son
The two Florida cops died by suicide within days of each other, orphaning their infant son, Sheriff says mental health played a role
In a tragic turn of events, a one-month-old baby boy has been left orphaned after both his parents died by suicide in St Lucie County, Florida. According to reports, St Lucie County Sheriff's Deputies Clayton Osteen and Victoria Pacheco died within days of each other, taking their own life due to "stress". The Sheriff's Department did not go into detail but indicated that mental health may have played a role.
The tragedy comes on the eve of the January 6 insurrection, an event that prompted four Capitol Police officers to take their own lives after Brian Sicknick was killed. The event shook the entire force, with multiple others since leaving, while some like Sgt. Harry Dunn have become withdrawn and isolated.
Suicide rates have also sharply shot up at police departments all over the US, with one 2020 study finding that more cops are likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty. In many cases, mental health has been attributed as a key factor, particularly since the Covid-19 pandemic began, leading cops to be overworked and underpaid.
Who were Clayton Osteen and Victoria Pacheco?
The two Florida Sheriff's Deputies were relatively new to the force, with Olsteen having joined in November 2019 and Pacheco in February 2020. Reportedly, Olsteen was a retired Marine, who served as a rifleman with the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. He enlisted in 2015 and was even featured in a 2016 training video. It's unclear why he left the Marine Corps, and how he met Pacheco. Little is known about Pacheco as well. According to The Daily Mail, the couple welcomed their first child Jayce Osteen in November 2021.
Shortly before midnight on new year's eve, Osteen reportedly shot himself, but survived and was taken to hospital, where he was placed on life support. Two days later, his family made the decision to remove him from life support, news of which reportedly led Pacheco to take her own life the next day. Sheriff Ken Mascara said in a statement, "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."
"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," he added. According to one Facebook user, Osteen's brother has taken baby Jayce in and is raising funds to help pay for diapers, wipes, clothes, and other essentials.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please do call the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-TALK.