Man falls to death hunting for famous Forrest Fenn treasure

An Illinois man hunting for a cache of jewels and gold allegedly hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains plummeted to his death in Yellowstone National Park.

Jeff Murphy is only the latest treasure hunter to fall victim in their quest for Santa Fe author and antiquities dealer Forrest Fenn’s stash of valuables, the Albuquerque Journal reported. The 53-year-old from Batavia was found June 9, 2017, a day after his wife reported him missing.

The events surrounding Murphy’s death and the following investigation was kept private until KULR recently obtained a report through the Freedom of Information Act.

Murphy’s wife, when she first reported him missing, told investigators her husband had been hunting for the famed treasure when he disappeared, according to the report.

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YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WY - SEPTEMBER 24, 2014: A National Park Service sign welcomes visitors to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)
Grand Prismatic Spring at Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WY - SEPTEMBER 25, 2014: A lodgepole pine leans toward the water on the bank of the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WY - SEPTEMBER 24, 2014: A female moose (cow) stands in a forest clearing in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. According to the National Park Service, there are fewer than 200 moose (Alces alces shirasi) in the park. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)
Tower Falls long exposure in Yellowstone National Park, USA
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WY - SEPTEMBER 24, 2014: A bison grazes on grasses in the Hayden Valley section of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)
A child leans out the window of a moving car to take pictures of wildlife in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, June 7, 2013. Yellowstone National Park is the world's first national park founded in 1872 and sits atop the largest super volcano in North America, the Yellowstone Caldera. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT)
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WY - JANUARY 21:Visitors explore the Travertine Terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park during the government shutdown. Visitors are allowed to enter the park with the understanding that there are no government services due to the government shutdown. (Photo by William Campbell/Corbis via Getty Images)
KEDIRI, EAST JAVA, INDONESIA - 2014/03/02: Nature's new landscape, created by the eruption of Mount Kelud, barren wastes and new ravines etched into the terrain by flowing lava. Four people were killed, dozens injured and more than 100,000 people were evacuated from villages on the Indonesian island of Java, after Mount Kelud erupted on February 13, 2014, spewing ash and lava 17 km into the sky. Volcanic dust and sand spread to almost all regions in Java forcing the closure of three international airports in the region. The most dangerous consequence of Mount Keluds eruption will come with the flow of volcanic lava dust turned to mud that will flow when it starts to rain. Kelud is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is categorized as one of the worlds deadliest in the book Super Volcano: The Ticking Time Bomb Beneath Yellowstone National Park written by Greg Breining. In the last 1,000 years it has erupted 30 times. The most severe eruption occurred in 1586 which killed between ten and fifteen thousand people. An eruption in 1901 caused lava to flow up to 23 miles from the volcano and swept away hundreds of villages and killed 5,160 people. Another eruption in 1966 killed about 2,000 people. (Photo by Arief Priyono/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Yellowstone National Park is a national park located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho.
EAST JAVA, INDONESIA - 2014/02/19: Some residents watched the flood of volcanic ash and lava in the Konto River, in Kandangan, Kediri. Four people were killed, dozens injured and more than 100,000 people were evacuated from villages on the Indonesian island of Java, after Mount Kelud erupted on February 13, 2014, spewing ash and lava 17 km into the sky. Volcanic dust and sand spread to almost all regions in Java forcing the closure of three international airports in the region. The most dangerous consequence of Keluds eruption will come with the flow of volcanic lava dust turned to mud that will flow when it starts to rain. Kelud is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is categorized as one of the worlds deadliest in the book Super Volcano: The Ticking Time Bomb Beneath Yellowstone National Park written by Greg Breining. In the last 1,000 years it has erupted 30 times. The most severe eruption occurred in 1586 which killed between ten and fifteen thousand people. An eruption in 1901 caused lava to flow up to 23 miles from the volcano and swept away hundreds of villages and killed 5,160 people. Another eruption in 1966 killed about 2,000 people. (Photo by Arief Priyono/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Overlook from Mt. Washburn in Yellowstone National Park
A car travels the newly plowed east entrance road over Sylvan Pass in Yellowstone National Park shortly after the park opened in this photo taken in May 2011. Yellowstone will delay plowing roads this spring in an effort to meet mandated across-the-board federal spending cuts due to sequestration. REUTERS/Ruffin Prevost (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS ENVIRONMENT)
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WY - JANUARY 21:Visitors explore the Travertine Terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park during the government shutdown. Visitors are allowed to enter the park with the understanding that there are no government services due to the government shutdown. (Photo by William Campbell/Corbis via Getty Images)
Fawn Fire at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, August 8, 2016. Image courtesy Yellowstone National Park. (Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).
Castle Geyser is a cone geyser in Yellowstone. It's known for it's large porous mineral deposit (geyserite sinter). It has a 10-12 hour eruption cycle that last for about 20 minutes and reaches the height of 90 feet (27m). Yellowstone National Park is the first national park in the USA. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Geyser valley in Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
Upper Falls of the Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, United States of America.
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“It was his past time, Erica Murphy told the Journal. “He loved anything that caused him to use his brain, and loved being out in nature.”

Officials later said he fell nearly 500 feet and ruled his death an accident.

He’s the fourth man in the last two years to die while looking for Fenn’s antique chest, estimated to be worth at least $2 million.

Fenn’s stash sparked a frenzy of sorts for treasure-seeking enthusiasts after the 85-year-old art dealer hinted at it’s locale in a poem found in his 2010 book, “The Thrill of the Chase.”

He’s ignored calls to end the hunt and in the past and has said the trove isn’t located in a dangerous area.

Fenn has advised against going on the treasure hunt during the winter and previously said that “no one should search in a place where an 80-year-old man could not hide it.”

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Search for rumored 'Fenn treasure'
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Search for rumored 'Fenn treasure'
Do you know about the Forrest Fenn treasure? $2 millions pillars hidden in the Rockies. https://t.co/VVgF7UfbbB https://t.co/aIkBhwFblZ
Officials believe a body recovered from the Rio Grande in #NewMexico is that of missing #GJCO pastor Paris Wallace.… https://t.co/HDX4zO69UK
A second person apparently has died looking for the Forrest Fenn hidden treasure. https://t.co/oa5XkXSw0d
Case closed: Death of treasure hunter remains a mystery but family wants to keep Randy Bilyeu's memory alive… https://t.co/hyfy4LVShN
Tragic end to months-long search for treasure hunter Randy Bilyeu: https://t.co/2QYVKile43 https://t.co/4xyngS7IsK
Friends of man who went missing while rafting in Arkansas River say he was searching for Forrest Fenn treasure.… https://t.co/ULJtKugRkt
HELP @Fremont_Sheriff locate 31-yr-old Eric Ashby, missing since June 28 rafting accident. https://t.co/YyfbOxgXBE
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Fenn assisted in the search efforts for a Colorado treasure hunter who went missing in January 2016. Randy Bilyeu’s remains were located along the Rio Grande six month later in July.

The antiquities dealer charted a helicopter for three days to assist in the search efforts. He made a similar offer while authorities hunted for Murphy.

Erica Murphy told the Journal she didn’t blame Fenn for her husband’s death, saying he was aware of the risks and that he “wouldn’t have wanted to hinder anyone” else searching for treasure.

Both Eric Ashby, 31, and Paris Wallace, were also recently found dead after vanishing in their mission to find the hidden jackpot.

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