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Baby Jesus goes missing from popular Florida nativity scene

Bobby Caina Calvan
The Associated Press
Walton Sun

TALLAHASSEE — On the sixth day of Christmas, Baby Jesus vanished from his manger in a popular nativity scene at a Florida park — right under the noses of Mary, Joseph and bowing kings.

The disappearance of the replica startled 8-year-old Nate Takacs, who had rushed to get a glimpse of angels and the infant Savior only to find an empty crib at the display at Dorothy B. Oven Park in Tallahassee. The park each year hosts a well-trafficked and colorful Christmas display.

“When I saw the barn and the angels and the kings bowing down, I ran to see what Baby Jesus looks like,” Nate recalled Tuesday.

“Why would they take Baby Jesus? It's a big sin,” he told The Associated Press.

He rushed back to his parents, who alerted city officials via Twitter.

Might some good Samaritan have taken the baby to protect him from vandals whose holiday spirit was more “bah, humbug” than cheery?

City officials could not immediately say what had happened to the first Baby Jesus. And they couldn't confirm if the disappearance was the result of foul play.

One city employee told the Tallahassee Democrat that some vandals would stick cigarettes into the baby's mouth.

“I was really disturbed that some people might have been vandalizing him,” said Nate's mom, Lynne Takacs. “I was shocked by that."

By Tuesday, a different infant was taken out of storage and placed into the manger. The Takacs said they were relieved.

“I'm glad they put another Jesus back,” Lynne Takacs said.