Executed Convict Missing, Authorities Urge Calm
Breaking news from the capital city suggests that the nation's most notorious convict has somehow "escaped" -- after his death sentence was carried out.
While authorities claim it's merely a case of fanatic followers stealing the corpse of the condemned, our correspondents in the suburbs and villages bring word of multiple eyewitness encounters with the treasonous extremist in the hours and days since he was beaten, bled, and suffocated to death in a way the government reserves for the worst sorts of criminals.
If true, the government's attempt to squelch a rebel movement has been turned on its head, and given new life by the very act of putting its leader to death.
There's no dispute that the convicted felon was executed just before the weekend, since the act was witnessed by crowds of ordinary people, and many law enforcement officers and community leaders.
However, early Sunday authorities met privately with a security detail, which had been tasked with protecting the gravesite, to mull what to say publicly about the missing body. The official word -- stolen corpse -- rang hollow to those who knew that the grave had been guarded by heavily-armed soldiers whose own lives were in jeopardy if their mission failed.
While public officials refused comment, some local folks recalled that the condemned man, a freelance teacher who many credit with acts of physical healing that defy medical explanation, previously told his students he would be executed, buried and then "rise." At the time, his remarks seemed mysterious and eccentric.
The "clearly impossible" news gathers credibility as regional social networks hum with stories of sightings, and even physical contact with a man who looks and speaks exactly like the deceased.
Officials are confident that the spurious accounts will fade once the body is located. They urge citizens to remain calm, and not to be taken in by scam artists who say that the dead man is alive, or that, as some claim, he can confer immortality on others.