Florida deputies Clayton Osteen and Victoria Pacheco took their own lives this week and left behind their 1-month-old son. The Florida police department is trying to understand what happened to lead to this tragic ending.
Both Osteen and Pacheco were Florida deputies with the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office. According to reports, both deputies took their own lives in the same week as one another. Officers were called to Osteen’s home on New Year’s Eve after the 24-year-old tried to kill himself shortly before midnight.
The deputy was taken to the hospital to be treated for his injuries and then his family decided to take him off life support on Sunday, Jan. 2. After learning about Osteen’s death, Victoria Pacheco decided to take her own life, as well. The circumstances surrounding her death have not been revealed.
According to reports, officers are unsure what caused Osteen and Pacheco’s back-to-back suicides and their causes of death have not been released.
The couple left behind a 1-month-old son named Jayce.
After their deaths, Sheriff Ken Mascara released a statement mourning his fallen deputies. He said, “Words cannot express the tremendous loss we all feel after losing these two members of our sheriff’s office family. 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.”
According to his obituary, Clayton Osteen joined the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Department in 2019 and was quick to be an amazing deputy. In 2020, he was awarded the Deputy of the Year Award. He had previously served as a U.S. Marine.
In his obituary, his loved ones wrote, “Clayton was one hell of a funny guy, someone you could always count on in a 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.”
Victoria Pacheco joined the police force in 2020 and according to reports she recently was given an award after she saved someone’s life after they overdosed on drugs.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Osteen and Pacheco’s orphaned son. So far, over $5,000 have been donated to the baby with an original goal of $10,000. All the money donated will go towards Jayce’s future.
The page said, “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.”
Grief counselors were at the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday to support the officers after the deaths of two of their own. Following their deaths, Gov. Ron DeSantis said the Florida government would do more to support first responders and the stress that they deal with.
First Lady Casey DeSantis, along with the Florida state Department of Children and Families, donated $5 million from the Federal Crisis Counseling Program. The money will go toward supporting suicide crisis hotlines.
Florida’s first lady also announced that $12 million will go towards expanding funding for first responder mental health services. According to reports, the program will allow first responders and their families access to people who can offer support and resources during difficult times.