Cross missing from burned historic church in Louisiana

OPELOUSAS, La. (AP) - A large cross has disappeared from the wreckage of an African American church in Louisiana that was burned down in an arson case.

Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal / MGN

News outlets report the white fiberglass cross belonged to Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas. It was one of three historic churches set ablaze in arson attacks earlier this year.

The Rev. Gerald Toussaint told The Acadiana Advocate he noticed the cross was missing Friday after a meeting with architect Stephen Juan Ortego.

Ortego says the congregation wanted to use the cross as a relic of the destroyed church. On Facebook, Ortego asked anyone with information to message him.

Toussaint says he's hesitant to file a report because it might be a "fruitless effort."

Holden Matthews was indicted in June on federal arson and hate crimes charges.

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