A one-month-old baby has been sadly orphaned after both of his police officer parents took their own lives just one day apart.
Officers from St Lucie County Sheriff's Department in Florida were called to an attempted suicide shortly before midnight on New Year's Day.
Tragically they found Clayton Osteen, one of their own deputies who had been serving since November 2019, reports The Mirror.
Just one day later Osteen's partner Victoria Pachecho – who had been with the force since February 2020 – also took her own life, leaving behind a one-month-old baby boy.
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.
Mascara said: "Words cannot express the tremendous loss we all feel after losing these two members of our sheriff's office family."
He added that deputies are "human" and often suffer with "stress".
"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," he concluded in his statement.
Officials are yet to release details about the nature and circumstances of the deaths.
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.
For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email email@example.com, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.
Pachecho gave birth to the couple's first child, a son, in mid-November.
Since the couple's tragic passing, friends and colleagues 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."
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