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Forty-year-old Jean Carlos Aponte, an Army veteran and Purple Heart honoree, is in critical condition at the hospital after an apparent self-induced drug overdose. On Tuesday, his wife Sara Ashley Gama, 38, and 2-year-old son, Ethan, were found dead inside their home.

Chris Haley, a Navy veteran who runs the Catch A Lift Fund, told NBC6 on Wednesday that Aponte reached out to the organization for mental health support. Haley accepted Aponte into the program. “It’s a bummer because that is the whole reason why our organization exists,” Haley said. “It’s to kind of stop this. So when it does happen, it’s pretty shocking because that’s kinda what we’re trying to avoid.”

According to Haley, Aponte was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury. “He had very strong desire to make things right because he had a wife and a kid on the way,” he said. “That was one of the things I remember very clearly is he wanted to do things right and be a positive example for his family.”

Police have not released how or why Aponte allegedly killed his wife and child. “He was struggling. I couldn’t tell if it was severe, but it’s a struggle and I think he wanted to get better,” Haley said. “I don’t think he wanted to be miserable and I think he realized you got to do something for yourself sometimes.”

The investigation is still very active and no charges have been filed. Police spent their Wednesday in a canal looking for what neighbors believe was a cellphone.

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.

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