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Deputies searching for vandal who removed head from statue at local church
ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. - Deputies are looking for a vandal who removed the head of a statue of the Virgin Mary at a local Catholic church.
It was discovered Saturday morning at Saint Mary's Church on Van Pelt Lane in Escambia County.
The statue has been there for nearly 25 years.
The vandalized statue now sits in the parish hall out of the view of churchgoers.
Reverend Dominic Phan Sa, the pastor of the church, took photos just after he discovered the damage Saturday morning.
At around 8 a.m., he was getting ready for a service when he noticed the statue had been torn down from a fountain and left lying headless in a pool of water.
"It represents like the whole, the whole church and everybody in it," said eleven year-old churchgoer Dylan Reagin.
Reagin and other parishioners say they're confused and hurt by the act of vandalism.
"Why would they just steal the head and not the rest of it?" said Dylan.
Dylan's mother, Nazla Reagin, said, "It's terrible. It's a beautiful statue.We all love it. We take our first communion pictures by the statue and it's just a terrible thing."
"I've been praying for the person or people who did it because I guess they're angry or unhappy people. I'm very sad that they chose to come here and do this damage," said Aaron Ritz.
One parishioner who showed up to pray at the church's 24-hour chapel says she saw a suspicious man walking away from the scene at around 3 a.m. Saturday morning.
Deacon Stephen Wulf and Father Dominic, meanwhile, say the statue will soon be replaced.
"When bad things happen, God can bring good out of all things," said Wulf. "We already have a number of parishioners who have said that they wanna help restore this fountain."
If you have any information about this crime, you're asked to call CrimeStoppers immediately at 850-433-STOP.