Updated:HAVERHILL, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) - Haverhill Police are saying someone stole a baby Jesus statue from a nativity scene on Christmas morning and replaced it with a severed pig's head.
A pastor at Sacred Hearts Church in Haverhill discovered the severed pig's head around 7 a.m. Christmas Day. Police estimate that the theft of the baby Jesus statue occurred sometime after the church's midnight mass and Christmas morning.
The police department held a press conference Friday to address the theft, asking for the public's help to find the perpetrator.
"This particular pig is not the kind of pig that would be sold at a butcher shop," Haverhill Police Lt. Robert Pistone said. "Usually they would remove all the hair."
Pistone said the pig "did appear to be pretty freshly decapitated."
Pastor John Delaney, who runs Sacred Hearts Church, said he was horrified by what had occurred.
"It's just a really hurtful commentary on society," Delaney said. "And for someone to do this sad deed is really shocking."
Police are looking at local farms and butcher shops for assistance.
The church has experienced vandalism in the past. The two hands of the Jesus statue at the church were cut off, according to the pastor.
Haverhill police also said several years ago someone left several pig heads at another church in the city. That crime remains unsolved.
Parishioners of the church were upset Friday morning.
"They're heartbroken, they're horrified, they're outraged by this act that really speaks to us on this most solemn day of hurt," Delaney said.
But there was a nice moment for the church after news of the pig's head began to spread.
"I just heard that a neighbor brought over another child Jesus for the (nativity scene)," Delaney said. "Another great sign of our goodness and friendship from a neighbor, so that's a sign of hope."
If you have any information on this incident, please call Haverhill Police at 978-373-1212.
This is a developing story. Stick with MyFoxBoston.com for updates as they become available.
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