Sheriff: Decade-long Highlands County deputy dies by suicide

Photo credit: Highlands County Sheriff's Office

The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the death of one of their own.

On Saturday, the agency said they were investigating the death of Sgt. Max Van D’Huynslager. Investigators said preliminary evidence showed he died by suicide.

The 42-year-old has been a law enforcement officer for over 15 years, and joined the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office on March 5, 2008. D’Huynslager leaves behind a wife and his 8-year-old daughter.

He was promoted to sergeant on January 31, 2018. He previously worked with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the Cape Coral Police Department and the Clewiston Police Department. Officials said he was not on-duty during the deadly bank shooting in Sebring, and, so far, “there is no indication that his death was in any way connected with the tragic events at the SunTrust Bank on that day,” they added.

“We ask for prayers and support for his family, friends and our agency family,” Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman said in a statement. “We are stunned and heartbroken by this tragedy. Rest assured that the Sheriff’s Office is doing everything possible to comfort Max’s family, as well as all of our members, to help everyone get through the coming days and weeks. We ask that you please respect the family’s privacy during this most difficult of times. We have resources standing by. If anyone is suffering a mental crisis, please reach out to any Sheriff’s Office member.”

If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text to 741-741

CLICK HERE for the warning signs and risk factors of suicide. Call 1-800-273-TALK for free and confidential emotional support.