‘Thrill of the Chase’ treasure hunt over, chest filled with gold, jewels found after decade-long search

Treasure hunt over, chest filled with gold found after decade-long search

It’s been 10 years since Forrest Fenn started the world on a classic treasure hunt. Now the hunt is done, and one person is $2 million richer after solving the clues left behind.

Fenn started the hunt with a poem published in his autobiography “The Thrill of the Chase,” The Associated Press reported.

He said that over the years he added various valuables to the bounty, including rare gold coins, nuggets, Chinese carved jade and antique jewelry.

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Fenn said he came up with the idea to get people into the wilderness and give them an old-fashioned adventure, the AP reported.

Hundreds of thousands of would-be millionaires spent years combing through the western part of the country looking for the 20-pound chest filled with 22 pounds of riches.

Finally, Fenn said a man, whom he refused to name, found the trove recently. The confirmation was a photo the man, who is said to be from “back East” according to Fenn, showing the discovery, the AP reported.

Fenn did not show the photo when asked by the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper.

Fenn didn’t say where the chest was stashed other than it was in the Rocky Mountains, the “Today” show reported.

The discovery was first announced on “The Thrill of the Chase” blog that tracked the treasure hunt.

It is estimated that 350,000 have looked for the treasure, some even quitting their jobs for the quest. It also claimed the lives of at least five would-be millionaires, The New Mexican reported.

Despite the battle to find the treasure has come to an end, the mystique and controversy surrounding it have not.

The battle is now moving from the woods of the Rocky Mountains to a federal courtroom.

Barbara Andersen is filing an injunction with the U.S. District Court.

Andersen, a real estate attorney from Chicago, said she solved the puzzle but someone whom she doesn’t know hacked her and got to the spot first.

“He stole my solve. He followed and cheated me to get the chest,” Andersen told The New Mexican.

The injunction is asking the courts to prevent the finder from selling any of the treasure and for her to be granted possession.

It isn’t the only lawsuit surrounding the hunt.

David Hanson of Colorado Springs, Colorado, sued Fenn for $1.5 million claiming Fenn gave fraudulent statements and misleading clues. A judge threw out the case, but Hanson is asking for it to be reopened, The New Mexican reported.

Brian Erskine of Prescott, Arizona, is also suing Fenn, saying he solved the riddle and the timing of the finding of the treasure is convenient considering Erskine recently filed the suit, according to the newspaper.

Some believe the treasure was not a treasure hunt at all; rather, the hunt was a wild goose chase or the treasure was found earlier than what Fenn said.

Seth Wallack told The New Mexican that the clue the treasure was found a while ago was that Fenn said he’d stop doing interviews last year. Wallack said that is the signal that the hunt was over.

FILE - In this March 22, 2013, file photo, antiquities dealer and author Forrest Fenn sits in his home in Santa Fe, N.M. A bronze chest filled with gold, jewels, and other valuables worth more than $1 million and hidden a decade ago somewhere in the Rocky Mountain wilderness has been found, according to famed art and antiquities collector Fenn who created the treasure hunt. Fenn, 89, told the Santa Fe New Mexican on Sunday, June 7, 2020, that a man who did not want his name released located the chest a few days ago and the discovery was confirmed by a photograph the man sent him. (AP Photo/Jeri Clausing, File)
FILE - In this March 22, 2013, file photo, antiquities dealer and author Forrest Fenn sits in his home in Santa Fe, N.M. A bronze chest filled with gold, jewels, and other valuables worth more than $1 million and hidden a decade ago somewhere in the Rocky Mountain wilderness has been found, according to famed art and antiquities collector Fenn who created the treasure hunt. Fenn, 89, told the Santa Fe New Mexican on Sunday, June 7, 2020, that a man who did not want his name released located the chest a few days ago and the discovery was confirmed by a photograph the man sent him. (AP Photo/Jeri Clausing, File) (Jeri Clausing/AP)