City Lights: A man lost but not forgotten

August 01, 2012|By Michael Miller
(Courtesy Jacqueline…)

On Friday, Jacqueline Halasz and her two children met at a bakery in Los Angeles and decorated an elaborate birthday cake, writing the recipient's name in frosting and topping it with a single candle.

Afterward, they returned to Halasz's nearby apartment, where they treated themselves to a single slice.

Then they stuck the rest of the cake in the freezer, where it will live indefinitely.

The cake's recipient was Marc Cross, Halasz's ex-husband, who disappeared a year ago apparently while kayaking in Newport Harbor. July 27 was — or would have been — Cross' 54th birthday, and Friday will mark the one-year anniversary of the day he was last seen.

Until he arrives home safely, the cake will remain in the freezer.

"I hope to find him and give him the biggest hug in the world," Halasz said.

Perhaps you recall the stories we ran about Cross a year ago. The Huntington Beach resident, a former lifeguard and middle school teacher, went missing after he told family members he was taking his kayak out to paddle around the harbor. When he hadn't returned by the next morning, his family called the police.


The U.S. Coast Guardconducted a 52-hour search for Cross or his kayak, covering 2,446 square miles of water by boat, helicopter and airplane and checking as far as Catalina Island. Then, nearly two weeks later, an off-duty Orange County Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol deputy found Cross' kayak about a mile offshore in Laguna Beach.

After that? As with so many disappearances, nothing.

The Coast Guard and Newport Beach Police Department both said in the last week that they have no new leads in the case.

I've never had anyone close to me disappear. I imagine the anxiety would be overwhelming.

A few years ago, in the Fullerton neighborhood where I grew up, a man went missing while walking his dog. Like Cross, he seemed like an unlikely candidate for a missing person: young, tall, a local college athlete, hard for an attacker to overwhelm.

Suddenly, his name and face dotted light poles up and down the block. Everyday sights looked suspicious — had he vanished between these trees, through this hole in the fence? Had a sinister car pulled up alongside one of the perfectly maintained curbs? Had the neighborhood, always so tame and quiet, just swallowed him up?

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