"It was a labor of love and means a lot to us. We'd love to get it back."

By Meghan Overdeep
February 08, 2019
Facebook/Ocean Manor Beach Resort

The mysterious appearance of a 20-foot, barnacle-encrusted cross on the shores of Ocean Manor Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale prompted countless headlines this week. Visitors flocked to the beach to catch a glimpse of what many were calling a miracle, while others set about the hunt for answers. But everyone was asking the same question: where did it come from?

Well according to the Miami Herald, that mystery might finally be solved.

Speaking with the Herald on Wednesday, Robin Stowe shared her strong belief that the cross in question was the one erected on an island off North Carolina as a memorial to her brother, Capt. Richard Baran, who disappeared on a hunting trip in the Hatteras Inlet in January 2016.

Stowe said the cross likely was swept away during Hurricane Nate in October 2017.

"It was a labor of love and means a lot to us," she said, "We'd love to get it back."

Capt. Aaron Aaron, who built Baran's memorial and put it on the island, confirmed to the Herald that he recognizes his handiwork in the cross.

"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," Aaron said. "It's the cross — 100 percent."

But Frank Talerico, the owner of Ocean Manor Beach Resort, isn't so sure.

"We have received many, many people claiming ownership," he told the Herald. "If they can 100-percent prove it's their cross, we would gladly give it back to its rightful owner. Until then, it belongs to The Ocean Manor Beach Resort."

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Back in North Carolina, Baran's friends and family haven't given up hope.

"We would love to see the cross come back to Hatteras," Aaron said. "We set it up as a memorial. It was such a big ordeal when we never found him, and he died at sea and that's why this is so important."

While the origin remains in question, everyone can still agree that this water-logged treasure is a rare gift from the sea.