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      Historic cross toppled by vandals in Starr County

      Image of Santa Cruz from August 2013

      Authorities are working to identify suspects who allgedly toppled a historic and holy monument known as La Santa Cruz, or the Holy Cross.

      Starr County Sheriff's Office deputies have launched a criminal investigation into the incident.

      The monument is a well-known historic site located on top of a hill that rises above U.S. Highway 83 in Rio Grande City.

      The alleged act of vandalism was reported around 9 a.m. Christmas Day by the site's acting owner, who has maintained the cross for decades.

      The historic wooden cross was cut down while the carved, crucified Jesus was cut into pieces.

      Many locals visit the site daily and tourists travel to see the cross.

      The cross was erected more than a century ago and has become a shrine.

      Volunteers replaced the cross with a temporary wooden one on Thursday afternoon.

      According to the Texas State Historical Association, the cross was built on a hill named Loma de la Cruz to commemorate rain that broke a drought that reportedly had lasted from 1888 until 1894.

      Damage to the monument is estimated to be at around $2,000.

      Anyone with information about the crime is asked to contact the Starr County Sheriff's Office at (956) 487-5571.