Yellowstone National Park is confirming the first death there this year was connected to a search for the Forrest Fenn treasure.
Forrest Fenn, a New Mexico art collector, hid a box with jewels and coins worth millions in the Rockies.
Two men died while searching for the treasure in New Mexico.
53-year old Jeff Murphy reportedly started his day hike in Yellowstone on Rescue Creek trail June 7th, 2017.
The trail draws a lot of hikers. It’s near the park headquarters in Mammoth.
But, a park press release said Murphy’s wife reported him missing the next day, so the search for Murphy began.
The Park issued a flyer, asking for help from the news media, and the public to find the missing man. Eventually, park police sent out eight hiking teams, five dog teams, four horse teams, and a helicopter.
On June 9th, searchers found Murphy’s body. Park spokeswoman Morgan Warthin said he apparently died from a fall.
She said, “And what we can confirm, based on our experience doing that search is that there is a connection between Jeff Murphy, and the Forrest Fenn treasure.”
When asked if she could be more specific, Warthin answered, “Not at this time.The investigation was just recently completed. What that means is the case is not closed, per-se, yet. The records from the investigation are being reviewed internally.”
We contacted Forrest Fenn by email. He said out of respect for the family, he would not comment on the incident in Yellowstone.
The 2017 death was not the first incident in Yellowstone involving the Fenn treasure.
In 2015, spokesperson Traci Weaver said treasure hunters damaged the park with illegal digs, and she explained, “We’ve had somebody cut down a tree, and try to build a raft. We’ve had all kinds of crazy antics of people trying to get to this alleged treasure that we don’t believe is in the Park anyway.”
Fenn wrote two books giving clues to the whereabouts of the box of gold coins, jewels, and artifacts.
He said he hid it somewhere in the Rockies in the United States in 2010, when he was 80 years old.
Murphy was from Batvia, Illinois.