Missing Mary Statue Found

RUSSELLS POINT, Ohio, March 30, 2024 – She has been found! The 20-foot-tall fiberglass statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was found on Saturday, March 30, 2024, by a local volunteer dive team at the bottom of a murky lake. The statue was blown into Indian Lake by a powerful EF-3 tornado that devastated the area on March 14, 2024, and it had evaded discovery for over two weeks!
Built in 1964, the statue was nearly 60 years old, but plans for her birthday celebration have been postponed for obvious reasons. “We are so excited to have her finally located! And just one day before Easter Sunday!” said Bill Quatman, president of The American Society of Ephesus, Inc. (“ASE”), a Lima-based non-profit that owns the statue. “We have had an overwhelming amount of interest from all over the world and many generous offers to help with the search or the cost to rebuild,” Quatman said. “We even received a kind letter from the mayor of Fatima, Portugal, who visited the shrine at Indian Lake in August 2018.”
“Special thanks go out to the dive team of Jimmy Dawson (of Russells Point), Richard Martin (of Marysville), and Josh George (of Delaware, OH). We also want to thank drone pilots Jeff Lang and Aaron Shirk who searched for the statue from the air,” Mr. Quatman added. “Visibility was near zero, and drones could not locate her, so divers had to feel for the statue in the dark. She was found about 150 feet off the shore,” said Bill Quatman, “after being blown off the concrete pedestal. She never touched the ground and must have flown 50-100 yards in the air. That would have been quite a site to see!”
The fiberglass statue was broken into many pieces by the tornado, but ASE plans to rebuild a new statue at St. Mary’s Point, the site of the previous Our Lady of Fatima Shrine (known by many as “Our Lady of the Lake”). Details will be provided later this year by ASE on its plans for the design and reconstruction. “We had started demolition of the old concrete pedestal the same day she was found, so the timing is perfect,” Quatman said, “and once the debris is removed and the site is graded, we will begin the design process for the new shrine. Watch for an announcement later this year.”
The missing statue had become somewhat of a local mystery, with lots of speculation about what happened to it and where it could have landed. “Most thought she was broken into many pieces – which is right, while others thought she had merely sunk into the lake intact. Still, others thought that she might have landed in a farmer’s field somewhere in Northwest Ohio! We could not rule out any possibility,” Quatman said. For now, ASE is not soliciting donations nor design ideas for the new project, and it asks that anyone wishing to help donate instead to the Logan County United Way’s Tornado Relief Fund. ASE made a $25,000 donation to the Relief Fund to help other tornado victims.
“We will rebuild, no doubt about it. But it is going to take some time. We want to do it right so that it lasts at least another 60 years,” said ASE president Bill Quatman.
For more information on ASE and the statue, visit:
The American Society of Ephesus, Inc. (George B. Quatman Foundation) is a non-profit private foundation formed in 1955 and based in Lima, Ohio whose mission is to promote a greater realization and appreciation of the teachings and wonders of God; to preserve and erect religious shrines, and to restore and preserve the burial grounds of outstanding religious leaders.
The Our Lady of Fatima Shrine at Russells Point, Ohio was one of the tallest statues of the Virgin Mary in the United States. Dedicated in August 1964, the 43’ tall monument included a 19’-6” fiberglass statue of Our Lady of Fatima on a concrete pedestal. It was located at St. Mary’s Point, 261 Chase Ave., Russells Point, Ohio. The property is now closed to the public during construction.