DuPage County Sheriff`s canine Stitch, 9, passes away - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

DuPage County Sheriff`s canine Stitch, 9, passes away

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Handler, Deputy John Bertuca and Stitch,9. (Photo courtesy of the DuPage County Sheriff's Office) Handler, Deputy John Bertuca and Stitch,9. (Photo courtesy of the DuPage County Sheriff's Office)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The DuPage County Sheriff's Office lost one of its own last week. Canine officer badge number 914, a German Shepherd who goes by the name Stitch, passed away last Friday.

"Stitch was one of the most unique Canines the Sheriff's Office has ever had," Sheriff John E. 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. We will all miss him."

A local breeder donated the 9-year-old German native to the sheriff's office when he was a younger dog.

Stitch's handler, Deputy John Bertuca, knew from the pair's first day on the job that the dog was special. Bertuca took steps to develop Stitch's talent in Seattle, where his partner was trained and certified as a cadaver detector. He also developed skills in tracking and narcotics detection.

The sheriff's office said Stitch was the only human remains detection canine in the county, and therefore an essential part of the team. Stitch took part in investigations conducted by many different law enforcement agencies over a number of counties. He is credited with the recovery of dozens of people, providing officers with the evidence they needed to solve cases and bring closure to grieving families.

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