A treasure chest hidden in the Rocky Mountains by an eccentric millionaire from New Mexico has been found, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported. The treasure was found "a few days ago," but the man who hid it confirmed its discovery on Sunday.
Back in 2010, millionaire Forrest Fen hid a treasure "in the [Rocky] Mountains somewhere north of Santa Fe." The treasure chest itself weighed 20 pounds, he said, and the treasure within weighed 22 pounds. The gold nuggets, rare coins, jewelry, and gemstones that made up the treasure were said to be worth approximately $2 million.
Fenn then gave clues to the chest's location via a poem and other clues contained within his memoir.
Over the next ten years, tens of thousands of treasure hunters set out to find the treasure. Entire online communities were devoted to deciphering the clues and an estimated 350,000 people made at least one attempt at finding the cache.
However, with a decade of treasure-hunting came a decade of controversy. At least five people have died in the hunt for the treasure, including at least one hunter who fell 500 feet down a steep slope. Multiple lawsuits have been filed in response to the treasure, including at least one that claimed there never was a treasure and that the entire thing was a hoax.As it turns out, it wasn't a hoax. Or at least, Fenn claims it wasn't.
On Sunday, he confirmed that, some number of days prior, a hunter had found the treasure, having emailed the millionaire a photograph of his find.
"It's true," he told the Santa Fe newspaper.
"The guy who found it does not want his name mentioned. He's from back East," Fenn continued.
The find likely will not put an end to the controversies surrounding the treasure, however.
Barbara Andersen, a Chicago real estate attorney, has already filed a lawsuit, seeking to prevent the unidentified finder from selling the chest's contents and asking the court to award the treasure to her. She claims that the finder "stole [her] solve" and followed her while she hunted.
Treasure hunter Seth Wallack believes that the treasure was found some time ago and that Fenn kept the ruse going, but was eventually forced to admit it had been found.
"I think his announcement is at least a few years, and a few lives, too late. But he has to live with that. I believe this was over much earlier than today," Wallack said.
Fenn, for his part, said he has mixed emotions about the treasure having finally been found.
"I don't know, I feel halfway kind of glad, halfway kind of sad because the chase is over," he said.