Mother of slain Baltimore County officer Amy Caprio channels grief into children’s book

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BALTIMORE — Baltimore County Police officer Amy Caprio was only 29 years old when she was run over and killed by a fleeing suspect in 2018.

Her loss was felt by the police force, her community and particularly her family.

But out of the darkness of grief has come a beautiful children’s book penned by Caprio’s mother, and illustrated by her sister. “The story of the Dragonfly” may have readers of all ages searching for the elusive insect.

The book, published by Loyola University’s Apprentice House Press, is available at bookstores and on Amazon. A portion of the proceeds will go to MD COPS, or Concerns of Police Survivors.

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In May 2018, Caprio responded to a 911 call for a burglary in the Perry Hall neighborhood. Prosecutors said three teens burglarized a home on Linwen Way while Harris waited outside in a getaway car, a stolen Jeep Wrangler.

Investigators said Caprio used her patrol car to partially block the cul-de-sac and then demanded a 16-year-old suspect to exit the vehicle, but he refused.

Police body camera video showed the officer then drawing her gun, pointing it at the driver and again, calling for him to get out of the Jeep. That’s when the teen hit the gas and ran her over. Caprio fired one shot, which hit the windshield.

She later died at the hospital.

But this is not a story about her death.

It’s about the dragonfly that magically appeared at her funeral, in the car with her family.

“I saw this dragonfly fly between Jeff and Denise, circle the hearse once and then fly over to where the police officers were standing. 

Soon after, dragonflies began appearing everywhere. In the neighborhood where Amy died, to fellow officers sharing coffee, one seeing them as she rested in her vehicle.

“She says when she opened her eyes there were swarms of dragonflies flying around her car, and this particular officer had ridden in the back of the ambulance with Amy,” Sorrell said. 

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A picture of slain Baltimore County police officer Amy Caprio in the children’s book

“Another officer sent me a picture of a dragonfly sitting on his hand,” Sorrell said. “It gives me comfort, and I think it gives them comfort too because it’s like, she hasn’t left us, really.”

When she was asked to speak to the children at a playground dedication at gunpowder elementary where Amy used to volunteer, Sorrell told the story of the dragonfly. That talk became this book, beautifully illustrated by Amy’s sister, Laura.

Sorrell said the message she’s sending in the book is that when someone has left Earth in body, their spirit is still here, but you have to look for it.

“When you see a dragonfly, think of it as a reminder that an angel from heaven is visiting you and keeping you safe.”

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