Post-Traumatic Struggles: Army Veteran’s Tragic Overdose Leaves Family Devastated and Catch A Lift Fund in Limbo

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

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. The investigation into the tragic incident is still active and no charges have been filed yet.

Army veteran Chris Haley told NBC6 on Wednesday that Aponte had recently reached out for help to address his mental health through the 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. So when it does happen, it’s pretty shocking because that’s kinda what we’re trying to avoid.”

Haley says Aponte was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. He had a strong desire to make things right for his family and was struggling with his mental health. “He wanted to do things right and be a positive example for his family,” Haley said. The police have not released how or why Aponte allegedly killed his wife and child.

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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