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Heartbroken Friends & Family Of New Parents Who Died By Suicide Speak Out Following Tragedy

Relatives & Friends Of New Parents Who Died By Suicide Days Apart Speak Out Following Tragedy

[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]

The relatives of the two young parents who died by suicide days apart in the last week are speaking out about their loss.

As we’ve been reporting, 24-year-old Florida law enforcement officer Clayton Osteen attempted suicide shortly before midnight on New Year’s Eve, and two days later, he died at a hospital in St. Lucie County. His girlfriend, 23-year-old Victoria Pacheco, then shockingly also died by suicide in the days after that. The two had both been deputies at the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office at the time of their death, and Osteen was a retired U.S. Marine.

Tragically, the pair left behind their infant son Jayce Osteen, who was born to Pacheco just six weeks earlier on November 22. As we reported, that young boy is now being cared for by Osteen’s brother, who is also a deputy in the sheriff’s office.

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The double suicide tragedy has understandably rocked the couple’s close-knit community of loved ones and friends in the St. Lucie area. Cops won’t say why or how the two of them died and, at least publicly, the motivations for their reported suicides are still unclear.

But now, family members are coming forward with their own stories about the loss, and the pair’s tragic commitment to each other and their family. Bernice Bartolini, Pacheco’s grandmother, publicly spoke out on Facebook about the awful news this week.

Writing about her relationship with her late granddaughter, she shared:

“My heart is so sad I thought I was hurting before I lost my beautiful granddaughter. Tragic Romeo and Juliet story. They are now together forever. This loss is so painful … Victoria and I were very close when I lived in Florida, she was there for me. I wish I could have been there for her. My insides are being torn apart, my heart hurts so bad.”

Another mourner, Kelly Ridle, wrote about how awful the tragedy was for those who knew both Clayton and Victoria.

Ridle was the one who set up the initial GoFundMe account to support baby Jayce in the aftermath of the tragedy. She is also the mother of one of the couple’s co-workers at the law enforcement division.

She shared her shock at the deaths, writing (below):

“The grief is deep and painful. Parents shouldn’t have to bury their children. Brothers and best friends should be called upon for support. Babies should grow up surrounded by the love of their parents. But know my friends, despite this horrendous situation, I’ve witnessed more grace, love, compassion, answered prayers, and even what feels like a few miracles this week than I could imagine even existed among those left behind. We are forever bonded to one another and Jayce.”

And Ray Tourville, a friend of Osteen’s, also described his despair over the unanticipated deaths, writing:

“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.”

Just terrible.

Osteen had been a Sheriff’s Deputy since November 2019, with Pacheco joining the force three months later. Both had been previously praised for heroism by the department, as Osteen was commended for saving a person from an overdose in 2020, and Pacheco being hailed for similar actions a year later.

Related: Neighbors Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide Following Months-Long Fight Over Floodlight

Here’s more on the terrible tragedy, and the aftermath of the couple’s deaths, from WPTV News (below):

So awful.

So many unknowns. We can’t even imagine going through a situation like this.

Sending our love and prayers to the family, friends, and loved ones of the two deputies — especially their infant son Jayce.

[Image via WPTV News/YouTube/GoFundMe]

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Jan 07, 2022 11:39am PDT