Mexico recovers sacred artifact stolen 20 years ago

STORY: The U.S. has helped Mexico recover this sacred 17th-century artifact

that was stolen 20 years ago from a church in the country's south

The statue of Saint Antonio de Padua is carved from solid wood and was painted and gilded

The sculpture had been in the custody of an American collector

who donated his collection to the San Angelo museum upon his death

The piece did not have documents authenticating its possession so the museum reported the case to the FBI

[Angel Catalan, / FBI legal attache at the U.S. embassy]

"The piece was entered into the Interpol stolen art database. Then the Dallas FBI office contacted the museum in San Angelo and presented the information and evidence indicating that it had been stolen in Mexico 20 years ago. Special Agents Elizabeth Crabin and Chris Jones, with us today from our Dallas office, coordinated with the museum to transport the piece to our Dallas office, where it remained until it was shipped to Mexico."