Fourth fortune hunter dies looking for Fenn's Treasure

Fourth fortune hunter dies looking for Fenn's TreasureA fourth fortune hunter has died in the pursuit of a treasure chest containing more than $ 1 million worth of gold coins and jewels which is reputedly hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Jeff Murphy, 53, perished in June but the details of his death were only revealed eight months later. He was looking for Fenn's Treasure and died after going hiking up a trail within the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park, and falling 500ft down a rocky slope. Fenn's Treasure is said to have been deposited in 2010 by Forrest Fenn, an eccentric, octogenarian millionaire art dealer and former Vietnam fighter pilot. Mr Fenn, who is still alive, has said he set the task of finding it in order to encourage people to "get off the couch" and see nature. According to him the bounty is inside a 22lb Romanesque bronze chest and includes 265 gold coins, diamonds, emeralds and ancient Chinese figurines. He published a 24-line poem which contains the clues to locating it. Jeff Murphy, 53, perished in June but the details of his death were only revealed eight months later. Over the last eight years tens of thousands of people are believed to have searched for the loot, mostly in New Mexico where clues have pointed. However, Mr Murphy, a vice president of the International Housewares Association, had headed for the Wyoming-Montana border area. When he went missing a huge search operation was launched including rescuers on horseback, others with dogs, and a helicopter. Erica Murphy, his widow, said he had first read about Fenn's Treasure in an airplane magazine. He then read Mr Fenn’s book The Thrill of the Chase, which contains the full 24-line poem. The poem includes lines like "Begin it where warm waters halt. And take it in the canyon down". Mrs Murphy told the Albuquerque Journal: "It was his pastime. He loved anything that caused him to use his brain, and he loved being out in nature." The death was expected to lead to renewed calls to end the controversial treasure hunt. But Mrs Murphy said she did not blame Mr Fenn, and her husband knew the risks. She said he "would not have wanted to hinder" others from searching. As rescuers looked for her husband Mrs Murphy emailed Mr Fenn to say: "I hope your quest won't be adversely affected by these current events." According to a report by Yellowstone National Park into his death Mr Murphy had also emailed Mr Fenn before setting out. When he went missing Mr Fenn then offered to pay for a helicopter to look for him. Mr Fenn also said he had never been to the area where Mr Murphy was searching, so he was looking in the wrong place. Last summer, fortune hunter Paris Wallace, 52, a pastor from Colorado was found dead north of Santa Fe, New Mexico after trying to traverse a river. Separately, Eric Ashby, 31 died after his raft overturned on the Arkansas River. In 2016, Randy Bilyeu, 54, died on the Rio Grande while looking for the treasure. His former wife Linda Bilyeu has called the hunt "madness". Mr Fenn has previously indicated the treasure is hidden somewhere not hard to reach and that, even at his advanced age, he could himself go back to the spot. Supporters of the treasure hunt have argued that it has achieved its aim of getting Americans into the Great Outdoors, and has led to people meeting spouses and parents bonding with their children.



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