Baby Of Florida Deputies Who Died By Suicide Will Be Adopted

This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know needs help, please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or go to  SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.

The infant son of two Florida police deputies who died by suicide will be adopted by a close relative, according to a fundraising page to support the young child.

Clayton Osteen and Victoria Pacheco of the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office both died by suicide this week, according to the Sheriff’s Office, leaving behind their 1-month-old son Jayce Osteen.

Kelly Ridle, a friend of Osteen who created a GoFundMe page to raise money for Jayce’s future, shared the news that the infant would be adopted by a “close family member.”

“The families of Clayton and Victoria are so grateful for all prayers and support received,” Ridle wrote on the donation page. “All donations will be used for enriching Jayce’s life experiences and securing a brighter future.”

A representative from GoFundMe confirmed the validity of the fundraising campaign, which has raised more than $60,000, to TODAY.

On Tuesday, Sheriff Ken J. Mascara announced in a Facebook post that Osteen, 24, had made a suicide attempt on New Year’s Eve. He was taken off life support on January 2. Pacheco, 23, died by suicide two days later.

“Words cannot express the tremendous loss we feel after losing these two members of our Sheriff’s Office family,” Mascara said in the statement.

The sheriff acknowledged the importance of mental health.

“While it is 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,” he said. “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.”

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On Friday, the sheriff’s office shared an additional donation page for Jayce based on an “outpouring of support” in the wake of the tragedy.

A spokesperson from St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office did not offer further comment to TODAY.

A Florida native, Osteen served in the United States Marine Corps and led infantry Marines as a non-commissioned officer prior to his work as a sheriff’s deputy, according to his obituary. He was awarded Deputy of the Year in 2020 and would have turned 25 on January 14.

Pachecho, known as “Tori”, was remembered as a “confident, strong willed, and fearless young woman” who loved her son, her “fur babies,” and having adventures like swimming with sharks.

Both Osteen and Pacheco will be laid to rest on January 8, according to their online obituaries from Haisley Funeral Home.