SAN MATEO COUNTY, CA - The mystery of a missing cross that stood in the Mojave Desert for nearly 70 years has been solved, thanks to a tip called in to News10.
The 7-foot cross, which was erected at Sunrise Rock in the Mojave National Preserve in 1934 in honor of American war dead, was stolen two and a half years ago during a court battle over the religious icon being displayed on public land.
The cross disappeared two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that its display did not violate the separation of church and state.
A source called News10 Monday to say the missing cross could be found on Skyline Boulevard, just south of Highway 92 near Half Moon Bay.
News10 alerted KGO, its partner station in San Francisco, which dispatched a crew to locate the cross.
The KGO crew found the cross zip-tied to a fence and notified the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.
"This cross is an important historical artifact," read a note that was attached to it.
The National Park Service confirmed that markings matched those from the missing cross, sheriff's spokeswoman Rebecca Rosenblatt told the San Francisco Chronicle.
"Right now, it's in safekeeping until its return to the rightful owners. It would go back to the Mojave Desert," she said.
Six months ago, a federal judge turned over the Mojave Desert site of the cross to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the VFW group had planned to put up a new cross this coming Sunday, Veterans Day.
A VFW spokesman suggested the group may go ahead and erect the new cross this weekend, keeping the original cross in a safe place.