SAN MATEO (CBSLA.com) — A Mojave Desert memorial dedicated to fallen U.S. soldiers that was stolen two years ago has resurfaced in Northern California.
KNX 1070’s Jan Stevens reports the controversial cross had been standing in the Mojave National Preserve in San Bernardino County since 1934 before it was discovered missing in 2010.
Lt. Larry Schumaker with San Mateo Sheriff’s said the 7-foot-high cross was found zip-tied to a fence post near a highway in Half Moon Bay.
“It had some significant scratches so we confirmed it’s the cross that belongs there,” said Schumaker.
A letter taped to the cross asked the finder to please contact authorities so that it could be returned to its rightful location.
“The note basically said, ‘This cross is an important historical artifact,'” Schumaker added.
The cross was purportedly stolen after a lawsuit filed in 2001 by the American Civil Liberties Union over the constitutionality of the monument, which argued that the monument is a violation of separation of church and state.
The Supreme Court ruled against that argument in April 2010, and now the Veterans of Foreign Wars is planning to dedicate a replacement cross in the Mojave Desert on Veterans Day.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for taking or returning the cross.
The National Park Service is taking possession of the memorial.