ST ELMO, Ill. — People in a central Illinois community are concerned tonight after a beloved K-9 officer died after just over a year on the job.
In the town of St. Elmo, it’s hard to keep a secret.
“The rumor mill churns quick around here,” said Chris Jennings. “With 1,500 people it doesn’t take long.”
That’s why many people in town thought it was just a rumor when they heard that Drogo, the St. Elmo Police Department’s K-9, had passed away.
“I actually heard it from the animal control officer sharing something on social media,” Jennings said. “People around here got wind of it and started sharing it.”
On Labor Day, the St. Elmo Police Department posted a release announcing that the city was notified of Drogo's death on July 27.
“Five weeks after the K-9 was supposedly dead is officially when we heard,” Jennings said.
The same release states that the incident is under investigation.
“The biggest question I had was who is doing the investigation,” Jennings said. "Who is in charge of this? Are they investigating themselves?”
“The dog should’ve had a full military burial because it was a police dog,” Donnatella Ashtiani said.
“We don’t even know where this dog was buried, if it was buried, or if it was cremated,” Jennings said.
With so many questions lingering about Drogo’s death, 5 On Your Side reporter Holden Kurwicki stopped by City Hall to get answers, but St. Elmo Kimberly Baron wasn’t available.
The door at the St. Elmo Police Department was locked and no one answered the phone.
“They’re very secretive,” Ashtiani said. “They don’t want anyone to know how the dog died.”
“I understand it’s under investigation,” Jennings said. “I understand those things take time. A little notification from the get-go would’ve maybe slowed the rumor down a little bit and give people some answers.”
“I’ll never get over being angry about it,” Ashtiani said. “I will remain furious about it until someone steps forward and has the integrity to reveal what happened to that dog.”
A spokesperson for Illinois State Police told 5 On Your Side that they have not been contacted by the city of St. Elmo to be part of any investigation into Drogo's death.