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Father of plantation family sought mental health assistance one year prior to murders – NBC 6 South Florida

A Forty-year-old Army veteran named Jean Carlos Aponte is in critical condition at a hospital after an apparent self-induced drug overdose. On Tuesday, his wife Sara Ashley Gama and 2-year-old son Ethan were found dead inside their home.

The investigation into the tragic incident is still ongoing and no charges have been filed yet. But it’s clear that Jean Carlos Aponte was struggling with his mental health and seeking help before the tragedy occurred.

Chris Haley, an Army veteran and Purple Heart honoree, told NBC6 on Wednesday that Aponte reached out to Catch A Lift Fund, a group that provides former service members with mental health support through working out. Haley accepted Aponte into the program. “It’s a bummer because that is the whole reason why our organization exists,” he said. “It’s to kind of stop this kind of thing from happening.”

According to Haley, Jean Carlos Aponte was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a traumatic brain injury (TBI). He had a strong desire to make things right for his family, including his wife and newborn child. “He wanted to do things right and be a positive example for them,” said Haley. “That was one of the things I remember very clearly about him.”

While police have not released any details about how or why Jean Carlos Aponte allegedly killed his family, it’s clear that he was struggling with his mental health before the tragedy occurred. According to Haley, “He was struggling but I think he wanted to get better.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call or text 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or chat live at You can also visit for additional support

By Samantha Jones

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