A touching photo of the dog Figo and the coffin of his slain partner, Bardstown police officer Jason Ellis, was voted the favorite pet story of the year on the Today show.
The Figo photo, taken by freelance Lexington photographer Jonathan Palmer, won by an "overwhelming vote," according to Today.com. According to the results, the photo received 45 percent of the 62,309 votes.
Palmer captured a picture of Figo extending his paw onto Ellis' coffin. The photo, first published on Kentucky.com, the website of the Lexington Herald-Leader, quickly went viral and received worldwide attention.
Figo and Ellis worked together to sniff out drugs in Bardstown. In the early morning of May 25, as Ellis was driving home, he was shot by an unknown assailant at an exit off the Blue Grass Parkway. Ellis, 33, was shot multiple times with a shotgun, and investigators suspect that he was ambushed. Figo was not in the car at the time of the shooting.
Figo was retired to spend the rest of his days with the family of Officer Ellis — his wife, Amy, and two sons, Hunter and Parker.
Ellis' killer has not been caught. More than $200,000 in reward money has been pledged for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the Ellis case.
Palmer said he hopes the attention the photo is receiving will help Kentucky State Police and the FBI find Ellis' killer.
"Any attention that can come from the photo should be directed toward closing the case," Palmer said.
Anyone with information in the case should contact the state police post in Elizabethtown at (270) 766-5078 or the KSP Tip Line at 1-800-222-5555.
Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl