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Costa Rica History Lesson; The Theft of the Virgin of Los Angeles

Costa Rica News – Even the younger generations know the story of what happened in La Basilica de Cartago 77 years ago.

The desecration and theft of the Virgin of Los Angeles and the murder of the guard, father of nine children, was one of the most famous crimes in the history of the country.

The newspapers featured the story for days, calling those responsible “monsters” and the attack “one of the most abominable.”

The then President decreed three days of national mourning and a huge reward was offered.

A week later, a miracle happened. The image of La Negrita appeared. Sirens sounded throughout the country alerting everyone of the happening. The jubilation spread and not a car was seen in San Jose. They were all in Cartago. People came from farther away as well, even on foot.

Jose Leon Sanchez was eventually convicted of the theft and sentenced to two decades in jail before he was granted a rebate on the sentence.

In 1999, he was acquitted due to errors in the old process. He insists he is innocent.

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