.- Local Catholics are calling it a miracle and claiming that God has sent them a message through a fibreglass statue of Christ that washed up on the shores of the Rio Grande.
Officers discovered the life-sized statue of the crucified Christ, minus its cross, stuck on a sandbar in the river, which divides Mexico from the United States.
Officers from the US Border Patrol recovered the statue and passed it on to the local police of Eagle Pass, Texas. The officers have placed it in the evidence room at their station and are waiting for someone to come and claim it.
But instead of hearing from the statue's owner, the police have been receiving calls and visits from dozens of local Catholics. People have even been visiting the police station to pray in front of the statue and claiming that it has sent a message from God.
"He's telling us he's alive and he is here with us," Veronica de la Pena, 32, told the San Antonio Express-News newspaper. "He's trying to tell us that there is hope."
Word of the statue has quickly spread among the Catholic community on both sides of the border. On the opposite side of the Rio Grande, the Mexican newspapers of Piedras Negras are calling the statue "Christ of the Undocumented", in reference to the scores of illegal immigrants who cross the river every year.
According to regulations, the police must keep the statue for 90 days. If no one comes forward to claim missing property, it is sold by the city council. In this case, the authorities have said they will donate it to the community. Two local churches, Our Lady of Refuge and Saint Joseph's, have already asked to keep the statue once the 90 days have passed.