‘It’s a Romeo and Juliet story’: Heartbroken grandmother of sheriff’s deputy who killed herself days after her cop boyfriend took his own life says the couple are now ‘together forever’ as their orphaned six-week-old son is cared for by his uncle
The relative of a sheriff’s deputy who killed herself days after her boyfriend committed suicide leaving their six week old baby son orphaned likened the double tragedy to a ‘Romeo and Juliet’-type story and says the couple is now ‘together forever.’
The family’s heartbreaking chain of events began New Year’s Eve, when Florida cop Clayton Osteen attempted suicide shortly before midnight. The 24-year-old died two days later in hospital.
His girlfriend Victoria Pacheco, 23, took her own life within days. The couple, both deputies at the St. Lucie Sheriff’s office, left behind an infant son called Jayce, who was born on November 22. He is now being cared for by Osteen’s brother.
‘My heart is so sad I thought I was hurting before I lost my beautiful granddaughter,’ Pacheco’s grandmother, Bernice Bartolini, said on Facebook. ‘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.’
Bernice Bartolini (left) says her police officer granddaughter Victoria Pacheco (right) is with her boyfriend forever after the couple committed suicide days apart
Bartolini is pictured holding the couple’s month-old baby Jayce, who is now orphaned
Bernice spoke as it was revealed Osteen and Pacheco had both been awarded for their heroism by their department.
Osteen saved a person from overdosing on drugs in 2020, while Pacheco did the same thing with another person a year afterwards.
A GoFundMe page set up to raise money for the couple’s son Jayce said: ‘Tragically, for reasons completely unknown and totally out of character, Clayton took his own life December 31st, 2021.
‘Reeling from the shock of loss, Victoria took her own life two days later.’ It continued: ‘Clayton and Victoria were joy-filled, first-time parents excited about their growing family, enamored with their baby Jayce, and so in love with each other.’
Now family and friends reeling from the loss are expressing shock at the parent’s choice to end their lives, saying they were as happy as ever after welcoming their new baby and that the reason behind the drastic actions are unknown.
Family and friends are reeling from the loss are expressing shock at Osteen and Pacheco’s choice to end their lives, saying they were as happy as ever after welcoming their new baby and that the reason behind the drastic actions are unknown
The St. Lucie Sheriff’s Office is rallying to raise money and day to day basics to help raise baby Jayce, (pictured) including accepting essentials like diapers, wipes, gift cards to baby stores and food stores
The tragic deaths of Osteen and Pacheco left their baby son Jayce Osteen, who was born November 22, 2021 orphaned
St Lucie County Sheriff’s deputies Clayton Osteen (left) and Victoria Pacheco (right) died as a result of suicides just days apart last week
Jayce Osteen has been left orphaned after his mom and dad, who were both sheriff’s deputies, took their own lives
The young couple had just welcomed their first child together, a boy, in mid-November. Osteen and Pacheco are pictured during her baby shower in September
Osteen and Pacheco served on the force since November 2019 and February 2020, respectively.
Osteen’s brother, also a St. Lucie Deputy, will now care for newborn Jayce.
The St. Lucie Sheriff’s Office is rallying to raise money and day to day basics to help Osteen’s brother raise baby Jayce, including accepting essentials like diapers, wipes, gift cards to baby stores and food stores.
Kelly Ridle, the mother of one the couple’s co-workers, who set up the GoFundMe for baby Jayce described Osteen’s suicide attempt as ‘unexpected’ and ‘unexplainable’.
‘The grief is deep and painful,’ Ridle wrote on Facebook. ‘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.’
Osteen was a retired US Marine, previously serving as a rifleman with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment.
He enlisted in May 2015 and was featured in a video about undergoing training in the jungles of Brunei in 2016.
Osteen, pictured above cradling his girlfriend’s pregnant belly, attempted to take his life on New Year’s Eve and was taken off life support two days later
Osteen was a retired US Marine, previously serving as a rifleman with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment
The young mother-of-one took her own life shortly after her partner’s death
Authorities have not said what might have prompted the couple’s back-to-back suicides, nor how they died, but Sheriff Mascara noted in his statement that deputies often deal with ‘stress’ and are ‘human.’
‘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,’ the sheriff added.
Friends have been sharing memories and photos of the tragic couple on social media.
‘A true brother lost his internal battle,’ Ray Tourville wrote of Osteen on Facebook. ‘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.’
- For confidential support call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255