Decoding beer can’s secret message after El Faro mystery at sea

Laurie Bobillot believes in signs.

Danielle Randolph

Danielle Randolph

Bobillot’s 34-year-old daughter Danielle Randolph, a 2004 graduate of Maine Maritime Academy, was on the El Faro last week when the 790-foot cargo ship lost power and started taking on water in Hurricane Joaquin.


El Faro

El Faro

El Faro is believed to be about three miles under water after being slammed by 140 mile an hour winds and 50-foot waves, according to the Coast Guard.

Bobillot’s daughter sent her mother the last known message from the ship before vanishing with all 33 crew members on board.

“Not sure if you’ve been following the weather at all, but there is a hurricane out here, and we are heading straight into it – category three last we checked. Winds are super bad, and seas are not great. Love to everyone,” Randolph wrote (click here to see her mother read the email to CBS 13).

The Coast Guard has only found the remains of one unidentified crew member, and Bobillot is okay with that.

laurie2“I have a strong faith and because of that, I don’t need the body to come to terms with it. She’s up there now,” Bobillot said after the Coast Guard suspended the search on Wednesday.

And from “up there,” Bobillot believes her daughter is sending her another message and signs to let her know she too is okay.

Tuesday night before the Coast Guard suspended the search for survivors, Bobillot and her family stopped at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida.

laurie1A beer can from local brewery Veterans United Craft Brewery, featuring Rosie the Riveter, caught their eye.

Rosie became a symbol of strength during World War II, representing strong, independent women who kept manufacturing plants going while men were away at war.

Danielle Randolph

Danielle Randolph

Bobillot said her daughter was planning on getting a Rosie the Riveter tattoo.

Danielle already had tattoos; including wings across her shoulders – the same wings on the top and back of the beer can.

lauriecan1According to the text on the can, the brew “pushes the upper boundaries,” just as Danielle did every time she shipped out to sea to face the potential dangers of the open waters.

“Every time she shipped out, every time she shipped out, you would think of it,” Bobillot said.

lauriecan2The ale advertises itself as “raging blonde.” Bobillot used the same words to describe Danielle.

The number 12 on the bottom? Danielle’s favorite football player, of course, Tom Brady.

As Bobillot continued to read the words on the back of the can “raging blonde … without the associated bitterness,” she knew Danielle was gone, not bitter, and at peace.

The next afternoon the Coast Guard called off the search.

“This child since the age of 5 has wanted to ship out and she always said to me, ‘If anything happens to me out at sea, it’s okay, Mom, I died doing what I want to do,’” Bobillot said.

“Make this blonde with attitude a familiar acquaintance.”

And although Danielle may forever be lost at sea, Bobillot will hold the can, and her daughter’s memory, close to her heart.

Jon Chrisos

About Jon Chrisos

Award-winning journalist Jon Chrisos is the investigative and consumer reporter at CBS 13 in Portland. He also anchors weeknights at 5:30. Chrisos is “On Your Side” investigating the stories that make a difference in your life. He’s passionate about helping those who’ve been wronged, exposing government waste, asking tough questions, and uncovering the truth.