Fenn Treasure Hunter Charged with Digging in Yellowstone National Park

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By Tim Binnall

While the search for the Fenn Treasure may have come to an end months ago, the saga continues to provide strange and unusual developments as a Utah man has been indicted by the federal government for what they say was an ill-advised and felonious hunt for the riches in a cemetery at Yellowstone National Park. In a press release on Thursday, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Wyoming announced that they have charged Rodrick Dow Craythorn with "excavating or trafficking in archeological resources and injury or depredation to United States property."

Specifically, the Department of Justice alleges that the treasure hunter had been digging in the Fort Yellowstone Army Cemetery, located within the national park of the same name, over the course of an eight-month period from October 1st, 2019 to May 24th, 2020 in the hopes of finding the riches famously hidden by eccentric art dealer Forrest Fenn, who passed away back in September. Craythorn has pleaded not guilty to the charges and will go on trial in December.

While the timing of when the DOJ says Craythorn stopped looking for the treasure as well as the location in Wyoming where he had been digging might seem to suggest that he could be the mysterious individual who found the riches, a few details which have emerged since the hunt ended appear to indicate that is not the case. In an essay allegedly penned by the finder last month, they described themselves as a millennial, while Craythorn is 52 years old, putting him well outside that generational designation.

Additionally, Fenn himself described the person as coming from "back East" when he announced the end of the hunt in June and Utah, where Craythorn resides, is west of where the art dealer called home in Albuquerque. As such, it stands to reason that the indicted treasure hunter is simply the latest and perhaps the last individual to see their dream of discovering the hidden riches turn into a nightmare of their own creation.

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