FALFURRIAS — The Brooks County Sheriff’s Office is currently seeking information regarding a popular shrine that was vandalized Friday.
Deputies were dispatched to the Don Pedrito Jaramillo shrine, located at 1109 FM 1418 in Falfurrias, at about 3:30 p.m. and noticed significant damage to all the statues inside the building as well as some tables and other “worshiping items.”
“We’re trying to look at some leads,” said Brooks County Sheriff Urbino “Benny” Martinez. “There’s some cameras out there. We don’t know if they’re of high quality where we’ll be able to actually see it being done. We’re just out there trying to do some research and doing the investigative part of it, and trying to focus on a person or maybe more than one person. It seems to me it might’ve been more than one person for all the damage that occurred.”
Martinez said that he is hoping to find more leads to help find whoever desecrated the shrine.
“We’re really working hard on it because I think it’s really unfortunate that that would happen to Don Pedrito,” Martinez said. “It’s been there for years and years.”
Don Pedrito, known as “the healer of Los Olmos,” was a curandero, or faith healer. People would travel from all over the country seeking out “el mero jefe” and his healing abilities.
He died on July 3, 1907, and a shrine was erected at his burial site. In 1971, the shrine was designated with a Texas State historical marker.
Falfurrias City Administrator Melissa Landin observed the damage for herself, which she described as “unsalvageable.”
“As I walked in yesterday with my family, the cross with Jesus, a large one that was on the wall, was on the floor broken in pieces. The Virgin Mary was broken into pieces. Two statues of Don Pedro were shattered,” Landin said.
The shrine has drawn visitors for many years, with some traveling great distances to visit the shrine and seek healing.
“There’s an enclosed shrine that is open 24/7 to the community. So as people enter the shrine, the left wall and the right wall each have notes and letters on the wall from people all over the world requesting Don Pedrito of a special prayer or message, requesting healing or any kind of message of health or assistance,” Landin said. “The shrine is a significant part of the heritage of the community. Don Pedrito was a well-known faith healer. People would come from all over to speak with him, seeking assistance with healing family members. He would prescribe certain recipes for healing.”
Landin said that many people in the community have reached out to her wanting to donate money and start fundraisers to help restore the shrine, but she said that much of what was destroyed is decades old and potentially not restorable.
“The community is coming together in an effort to restore the shrine. They’re very resilient,” Landin said. “It’s only going to make the community stronger. They may have shattered all those relics, but it doesn’t shatter the faith this community has.”
Anyone with any information about who may have vandalized the shrine is encouraged to call the Brooks County Sheriff’s Office at (361) 325-3696.