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St. Johns County deputies honor fallen officers

K-9 Baron latest memorialized after being killed in line of duty

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(Courtesy of St. Johns River State College)

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office held a ceremony Monday to honor and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives in the line of duty.

The most recent name on the list is Baron, a K-9 who was killed by a man who was running from police and is now charged with causing the death of a police animal, resisting police and sale of cocaine.

Officers, community leaders and families of fallen officers gathered outside of the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office to pay tribute.

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One of them was Jean Blyler, who said she still misses her son every day more than 10 years after his death.

Deputy Josh Blyler (pictured) was killed in a car accident in 2004 while on duty. He wasn't with the Sheriff's Office for long but left a lasting impression.

"He wanted to help people. That was the goal. I've had a lot of these gentlemen tell me he was a bright star in his short time," Jean Blyler said. "He loved his job. He was very charismatic. He was here for a short time, but he would call me almost every day he worked with a story."

St. Johns County K-9 Baron
St. Johns County K-9 Baron

The most recent on the list of fallen heroes is Baron (pictured), the first K-9 the Sheriff's Office has lost on the job. Investigators said Baron was killed by 27-year-old Brandon Allison during a pursuit. Baron continued chasing Allison while his handler climbed a fence, and when she caught up with him, she found him dead in a pond. A veterinarian determined Baron died of asphyxia and showed signs of blunt-force trauma.

"The K-9s are very important to the work that we do," Sheriff's Office Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan said. "As we all know, they have sensory perceptions that humans just don't have, so they're invaluable in what we do every day out in the field."

The Sheriff's Office has to move forward after a tragedy but deputies and family members said these ceremonies are a reminder to never forget.

"It reminds us of our heroes and that name will never be forgotten as long as the ceremonies carry on," Jean Blyler said.

Allison, the man charged in Baron's death, pleaded guilty but now wants to withdraw that plea. He has another hearing set for June 3.