Tragic Incident Highlights the Struggle of Veterans with Mental Health: One Man’s Desperate Search for Help Leads to Violence

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

On Tuesday, a tragic incident occurred in Fort Lauderdale, Florida when 40-year-old Jean Carlos Aponte killed his wife Sara Ashley Gama and his 2-year-old son Ethan before attempting to take his own life. Aponte, an Army veteran and Purple Heart honoree, had recently reached out for help to address his mental health through the Catch A Lift Fund, a group that provides former service members mental health support through working out.

On Wednesday, Chris Haley, the founder of Catch A Lift Fund, told NBC6 that he accepted Aponte into the program after he reached out for help. However, this act of violence has left the organization in shock as they continue to struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

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