Plantation Father Sought Mental Health Help One Year Before Murders – NBC 6 South Florida

Veteran’s Tragic Death Sparks Concerns About Mental Health Stigma in Military Community

A man who served in the military and recently sought help for his mental health has been found dead with his wife and child in their home. Forty-year-old Jean Carlos Aponte, who reached out to a group called Catch A Lift Fund, is in critical condition at the hospital after an apparent drug overdose.

On Tuesday, police found Aponte’s wife, Sara Ashley Gama, 38, and son Ethan, 2, dead inside their home. The cause of death for both individuals has not been released.

Chris Haley, an Army veteran and Purple Heart honoree who runs the Catch A Lift Fund program, spoke to NBC6 on Wednesday about the situation. He said that Aponte reached out to him seeking help with his mental health due to post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Haley accepted him into the program but is shocked that he would allegedly take his own life while still trying to make things right for his family.

According to Haley, Aponte had a strong desire to be a positive example for his family and was struggling with severe depression before taking action against himself. The investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed yet. Police are still looking for what they believe was a cellphone that went missing from the crime scene earlier today.

If you or someone you know is in crisis or experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors, please contact or text 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or chat live at 988lifeline.org. Additional resources can be found at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.

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