By Tim Binnall
A Colorado man became the fifth individual to die in pursuit of the infamous Fenn Treasure when his journey into the wilderness took a tragic turn. Michael Wayne Sexson and an unnamed companion reportedly traveled from Denver to the state's Dinosaur National Monument last week with the hopes of locating the cache of riches said to have been hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains by eccentric author Forrest Fenn back in 2010.
Upon arriving at the site, the duo rented snowmobiles and set out towards what they presumably believed to be a remote location where the Fenn treasure could be found. When they did not return later that night, the company that provided the vehicles alerted authorities and a search for the two men was launched the following day. After around 48 hours, the lost treasure hunters were located approximately one mile from the snowmobiles, which they had abandoned in order to advance into the wilderness on foot.
Tragically, authorities say, Sexson had passed away during the days that the men had gone missing and his friend required hospitalization. Lieutenant Chip McIntyre of the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office explained to the Denver Post that "they were not dressed appropriately for the conditions, even for a day trip, and definitely not dressed for if something happened and they couldn't get out of there." To that end, the pair had brought only a few candy bars and bottles of water for their hike and, back in their truck, authorities found a copy of Fenn's book The Thrill of the Chase, which led investigators to conclude that the deadly misadventure had, in fact, been a treasure hunt gone horribly awry.
Remarkably, it would seem that the pair had actually cheated death earlier this year when a prior treasure hunt around the same area back in February also went wrong, necessitating a search and rescue operation in which both men were saved. Clearly undeterred by the incident, the duo tempted fate again last week and paid a heavy price. Sexson is now the fifth person to perish hunting for the treasure and his companion is one of countless individuals who have had to be rescued when their quest took a perilous turn.
For his part, Fenn issued a statement to the Post saying "what happened was tragic. My heart and prayers go out to the family and friends." Sexson's death will probably prompt another round of calls from authorities for the author to put an end to the treasure hunt. However, considering that Fenn has repeatedly rebuffed such requests in the past, it seems unlikely that this most recent incident will change his mind.