A man who fell to his death last year in Yellowstone National Park was revealed Monday to have been looking for a chest of gold and jewels that antiques dealer Forrest Fenn claims to have hid in a mysterious location. This marks the fourth confirmed death in pursuit of the treasure.
Through a Freedom of Information Act Request, Montana TV station KULR-8 discovered that Jeff Murphy, 53, a hiker who had plunged 500 feet down a steep slope on Turkey Pen Peak and was discovered dead on June 9, 2017, had in fact been seeking out Fenn’s cache at the time of his fatal fall.
Murphy’s wife reported him missing the day before authorities found his body. She also told investigators the treasure hunt was the reason for her husband’s hike, but that information was kept private until now.
The police report confirms Murphy’s death was accidental.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Fenn—an eccentric 86-year-old New Mexico millionaire—left clues in his 2010 memoir “The Thrill of the Chase” about the location of a treasure trove he supposedly planted, filled with valuables worth a total of $2 million.
“[It is] mostly American eagles and double eagles, hundreds of gold nuggets, some as large as chicken eggs, ancient Chinese carved jade figures, Pre-Colombian gold animal artifacts, lots of rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds and other things.”
The Washington Post reveals that Fenn created the treasure hunt to encourage people to get outdoors. He says the stash “is buried above the elevation of 5,000ft somewhere in the Rocky Mountains between Santa Fe, NM and the Canadian border.”
A cryptic passage in Fenn’s book, presumably hinting at the location of the chest, reads, “So hear me all and listen good, Your effort will be worth the cold. If you are brave and in the wood, I give you title to the gold.”
Fenn has expressed his sympathies for the four deaths, but has resisted calls to cancel the hunt. He told the paper that the treasure is located in a place that’s safe to hike.
“As with deer hunters and fishermen, there is an inherent risk that comes with hiking the canyons and mountain trails,” he said.
“I have said that no one should search in a place where an 80-year-old man could not hide it.”
[Feature image: Jeff Murphy/Facebook]