DuPage County police officers are mourning the loss of their beloved German Shepherd.
Stitch, the county's only cadaver-and narcotics-detecting canine, died Friday afternoon, according to the DuPage County Sheriff's Office. He was 9.
DuPage County Sheriff John E. Zaruba said Stitch will be sorely missed by everyone in the department, particularly his partner, Deputy John Bertuca.
“Stitch was one of the most unique canines the sheriff’s office has ever had,” Zaruba said. “In his career of detecting human remains, tracking criminals and sniffing out narcotics, he had some amazing finds. Stitch spent his life protecting the citizens of DuPage County and his partner Deputy Bertuca, and for that, I am thankful."
Stitch was imported from Germany when he was a puppy, and was donated to the DuPage County Sheriff's Office by a local breeder.
Although the department has used canines for more than 20 years, Bertuca immediately noticed something special in Stitch, who was taken to Seattle for training and certification in cadaver detection.
As the only cadaver-detecting canine in the county, Stitch was utilized by several law enforcement agencies throughout DuPage, as well as surrounding counties. He was also known for his narcotic detection and tracking abilities, officials said.
Dawn Domrose, spokesperson for the DuPage County Sheriff's Office, said Stitch "provided assistance to many law enforcement agencies and is credited with recovering the remains of dozens of people in his career, which provided evidence to law enforcement and gave closure to grieving families."