Death of 2 Florida MPs by suicide highlights law enforcement mental health

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ST. LUCIA COUNTY, Florida – A sheriff’s department was stunned after two married MPs, parents of a one-month-old son, died of suicide within days of each other.

Sheriff of Saint Lucia Ken Mascara issued a statement on Facebook saying Deputy Clayton Osteen, 24, who was not on duty, attempted to kill himself just before midnight on New Years Eve. Osteen’s family pulled him out of the intensive care system on Sunday.

On Monday morning, Osteen’s wife, Deputy Victoria Pacheco, committed suicide following the death of her husband, the statement said.

“Words cannot express the tremendous loss we feel after losing two family members from our sheriff’s office,” Mascara said in the statement.

The sheriff says in the statement that law enforcement officials face not only the stress in their own lives, but also the stress of the residents they serve. He said he hoped the tragedy could be 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 viewed these two MPs as young, ambitious and a big compliment to my already amazing group of professionals,” Mascara said. “For the general public, and sometimes even for myself, it’s easy to think of law enforcement as superhuman… but let’s not forget that they are human just like us.”

Anyone struggling with thoughts of suicide can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/ressources.


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