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2 Florida sheriff’s deputies died, their infant son orphaned

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Deputies with the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office are carrying a heavy heart after the “tragic passing” of two deputies who shared a one-month-old son.

Authorities said Deputy Osteen, who was off duty at the time, attempted to take his own life on New Year’s Eve. Just two days later, the deputy’s family made the difficult decision to remove him from life support.

On Wednesday, the sheriff’s office learned that Deputy Pacheco, who shared a one-month-old son with Deputy Osteen, took her own life in the wake of Deputy Osteen’s death.

“Words cannot express the tremendous loss we all feel after losing these two members of our Sheriff’s Office family,” Sheriff Ken Mascara said. “As sheriff, I saw these two deputies as young, ambitious, and a great compliment to my already amazing group of professionals.”

Sheriff Mascara added, “it’s easy to view law enforcement as superhuman … but let’s not forget that they’re human just like us.”

The sheriff’s office said that law enforcement can face a tremendous amount of stress.

“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,” the sheriff’s office said.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call 211 or contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

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