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Philadelphia forensic composite artist creates portraits of fallen KCPD officers James Muhlbauer, Champ

Fallen KCPD officer James Muhlbauer, K-9 Champ
Posted at 9:50 PM, Feb 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-20 23:08:47-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — By day, Officer Jonny Castro is a Philadelphia Police Department forensic composite artist.

By night, he creates special portraits for people who suffered the loss a loved one.

Officer Castro painted more than 1,300 portraits in the last seven years.

“It’s important for them to be remembered, for their stories to be told,” Castro said. “I’m averaging three portraits a week — that’s police officers, victims of crime, anyone that’s been killed in the line of duty.”

It didn’t take long for Castro to hear about the deaths of James Muhlbauer, a Kansas City police officer and Muhlbauer's K-9 partner, Champ.

“You don’t hear too many stories where the officer and his canine partner were killed,” he said. “That with the pedestrian, an innocent bystander it’s just a sad story all around.”

Castro painted the 23 New York City police officers killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“It’s rough, there are so many officers being killed in the line of duty,” he said. “That this provides some sort of comfort, people all over the country, strangers trying to do something nice for them,” he said. “It’s nice to know that Champ and James will be together forever in that painting.”

While he gives away portraits for free to families, people can buy them or support him here.