Ephemeral handprint becomes permanent memory, thanks to officer

Dan Matics reports

- One family is praising a Largo police officer who went out of her way to help them remember their 6-year-old son who drowned. 

Megan's son Jakob died in an accidental drowning accident in upstate New York. Megan and her husband were desperate for a way to keep their son close after his loss, and they looked to a place many might not consider -- their son's mirror. 

The mirror still had Jakob's handprints and his parents thought having a tattoo of his print was the perfect way to keep his touch close.

“He was up on the counter in the bathroom," his mom said. "I could see him sticking his face in the mirror. He got off the counter and went on about his day. Unfortunately, that afternoon, he passed away.”

But getting the print from the mirror to their skin presented a challenge. Thankfully, Megan's cousin is a tattoo artist in Pinellas County and knew where to go for help. 

Tattoo artist Rob Bachman enlisted the help of Largo Police Sgt. Ann Starling. She went to work -- on her day off -- using fingerprint powder to pull Jakob's handprint from the mirror, which the family had brought all the way from New York to Florida. 

After several attempts, and several tears, Sgt. Starling was able to pull little Jakob’s prints for Bachman to sketch.

“Everyone was crying in the room, and it was just very moving,” Starling recalled.

Bachman said his family couldn’t be more grateful for Sgt. Starling's compassionate gift.

"[There's] nothing in the world that feels better [than] to be able to give them something like that, to carry with them forever,” Bachman added.

Sgt. Starling downplays all the attention, saying she simply did what most officers would do when asked for help.

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