A man who has been legally dead since 2010 was elected mayor of a small Mexican town on Sunday.

According to the death certificate his relatives showed police, Lenin Carballido died of a diabetic coma three years ago. Because they believed him to be dead – and why shouldn't they – police dropped a warrant for Carballido's arrest as part of an investigation for a gang rape in 2004. So police were shocked on Sunday, when Carballido, who is alive and well, was elected mayor of San Agustin Amatengo in Mexico's Oaxaca state on Sunday.

Carballido's death certificate surfaced not long after Sunday's election. It's somewhat surprising that the certificate didn't surface before the election, considering the fact that Carballido didn't exactly keep his identity a secret; he used his real name for his campaign and posted pictures of himself throughout the town.

The death certificate had been drawn up and signed by a public registry official, on an official form and stamped with an official seal. The official who signed it has since been fired.

Mayra Ricardez, the spokeswman for the Oaxaca state prosecutors' office, said the warrant against Carballido was "never served, because his family showed officers a false death certificate."

"If all this is true, he cannot take office as mayor," Rey Morales, the head of the Democratic Revolution Party, which supported Carballido in the election, told the Associated Press. “When he registered as a candidate, he presented all his paperwork, his birth certificate, a letter stating he had no criminal record. He fooled the prosecutors office, he fooled the office of records, he fooled electoral officials."

It's unlikely that Carballido will serve any time as mayor; Ricardez, the prosecutor's spokeswoman, said her "office is taking all the legal steps necessary to revive the case and serve the arrest warrant that is still pending."

[Image via Shutterstock]