Giant cross that mysteriously washed ashore on Florida beach may have come from North Carolina

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. --  The beach next to a resort in south Florida was blessed with an unusual sight: A giant cross, delivered by the sea.

The painted wooden cross, covered in barnacles, washed up at the Ocean Manor Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday.

It quickly attracted a crowd of tourists and other onlookers who wondered where the 20-foot-tall cross may have come from.

Now, the mystery may be solved.

On Wednesday, Robin Stowe told the Miami Herald she believes the cross is one built in honor of her late brother on Hatteras Island in 2016.

Her brother, Capt. Richard Baran, disappeared on a solo hunting trip in the Hatteras Inlet in January 2016, the newspaper reports. Coast Guard crews searched for Baran for more than eight hours, covering 33 miles, but never found him.

“A bunch of his friends went out there and Capt. Aaron Aaron built that cross and put it on the island,” Stowe told the Herald.

Stowe said she thinks a hurricane washed the cross out to sea.

Aaron also told the newspaper he believes it is the cross he made for Baran.

“The reason I know it is [the cross] is I built it and notched it and can see the eye bolts and that it’s set off to one side,” he said. “It’s the cross -- 100 percent.”

Frank Talerico, Ocean Manor Beach Resort owner, said earlier in the week the resort plans to keep the cross. He told the Herald several people have claimed the cross, but if Stowe and Aaron can "100 percent prove it’s their cross" he will give it back.

Aaron said he would like to see the cross come back to Hatteras.

The Tribune Media Wire contributed to this report. 

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