National Park Service officials learned Thursday morning that a cross again was on top of Sunrise Rock, about 10 miles south of Interstate 15 near Cima Road, a sparsely traveled route into the Mojave National Preserve. It’s about 30 miles east of Baker.
Some version of the cross has stood there for 75 years as a tribute to fallen World War I soldiers. Vandals made off with the cross May 9, 10 days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it could remain pending the outcome of a decade-long court battle over whether it should be permitted on public land.
Once federal officials discovered Thursday that it was a replica of the stolen cross, the Justice Department said it had to be taken down.
“It just gets crazier and crazier,” said Wanda Sandoz, who together with her husband, Henry, has acted as a caretaker for the cross for more than 25 years.