The man who solved the puzzle and located Forrest Fenn’s buried treasure in the Rocky Mountains may have to wait, and fight, for his newly discovered fortune. At least three other people have begun lawsuits claiming that they solved the puzzle first and knew where the treasure was buried, with one lady even claiming that the man who found it ‘stole her solve’ and cheated his way to the chest.
Hundreds of thousands of people have attempted to find the treasure chest hidden in the Rocky Mountains a decade ago, and at least four have lost their lives in its pursuit. Fenn announced over the weekend that one lucky person located the chest and will claim its hidden treasure for themselves.
THE TREASURE HAS BEEN FOUND
It was under a canopy of stars in the lush, forested vegetation of the Rocky Mountains, and had not moved from the spot where I hid it more than 10 years ago. I do not know the person who found it, but the poem in my book led him to the precise spot.
I congratulate the thousands of people who participated in the search and hope they will continue to be drawn by the promise of other discoveries.
So the search is over. Look for more information and photos in the coming days.
– Forrest Fenn, June 6th 2020
The guy who found it, who is from ‘back east’ according to Fenn and doesn’t want the publicity, has a fight on his hands to get hold of it. Barbara Andersen, a Chicago real estate attorney, said she is filing an injunction in federal District Court alleging she solved the puzzle first but was anonymously ‘hacked’ by someone else. Andersen will be representing herself and is seeking to prevent the man from selling the contents of the chest, and requesting that the chest be handed over to her.
“He stole my solve. He followed and cheated me to get the chest.”
— Barbara Andersen
Andersen’s is not the only lawsuit regarding the hidden treasure chest, either. In December 2019 a Colorado Springs resident sued Fenn for $1.5-million claiming he was deprived of the chest through fraudulent statements and misleading clues. The lawsuit was thrown out, but the man is now petitioning to get the case reopened.
Another man, from Arizona, has filed a lawsuit in the US District Court claiming that he was the one that ‘solved the quest’ first. He believes the chest was buried between the towns of Silverton and Ouray in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, accessible by US 550, also known as the “Million Dollar Highway.” He also claims that burying a chest in the wild, as Fenn did, means he isn’t able to ‘give title’ as Fenn wrote in his memoir.
All this started when art dealer and former air force pilot, Forrest Fenn, revealed in his self-published 2010 novel, “The Thrill of the Chase”, that he had buried a lockbox full of about 2 million dollars worth of gold, gems, and artifacts. The clues to the whereabouts of the treasure were hidden in a 24 verse poem that is included in the memoir. Many people have quit their jobs and spent their life savings in the quest to find the buried treasure.
Mr. Fenn stated that the Treasure was located in the 1,000-mile stretch of the Rocky Mountains from New Mexico to the Canadian border and at least 5,000 feet above sea level, in an area that an 80-year-old would not have trouble accessing. Fenn estimates that over 100,000 people have attempted the search for his treasure, and originally said that he hoped the hunt would push more people outside to enjoy the wilderness. Asked how he felt now that the treasure has been found, Fenn said: “I don’t know, I feel halfway kind of glad, halfway kind of sad because the chase is over.”
In March 2020, two Coloradan snowmobilers were searching for Forrest Fenn’s elusive treasure when they became stranded and one died in a Utah park. In June 2017, New Mexico authorities found the body of Paris Wallace, a Colorado Pastor who had joined the hunt. A year previous to that Randy Bilyeu disappeared while searching for the treasure, his remains were found in the Rio Grande seven months later.