Yellowstone National Park

Fenn treasure hunter indicted in Fort Yellowstone Cemetery ransacking

A Utah man has been indicted for repeated damage to Fort Yellowstone Cemetery in 2019 and 2020 as he searched for the alleged Forrest Fenn treasure.

Rodrick Dow Craythorn was indicted on September 16, 2020 by a federal grand jury on charges of excavating or trafficking in archeological resources and injury or depredation to United States property. Specifically, Craythorn was indicted on allegations of knowingly and unlawfully excavate, remove, damage, alter and deface, and attempt to excavate, remove, damage, alter, and deface archeological resources, in particular the Fort Yellowstone Cemetery in Yellowstone National Park between October 1, 2019 and May 24, 2020.

The second count alleges Craythorn, during the same period, did willfully damage, injure, and commit depredation against property belonging to the United States.

Craythorn was in search of the alleged Forrest Fenn treasure. Fenn, an art dealer and author from Santa Fe, claimed to have hid a treasure chest containing gold, rare coins, jewelry, and gemstones somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, and then published clues as to its location. The Fenn treasure spurred a decade-long search, including many who assumed it was hidden in Yellowstone. One person, Jeff Murphy, of Batavia, IL, was found dead in Yellowstone National Park on June 9, 2017. He was in search of the treasure via Turkey Pen Peak near Gardiner, but died after falling 500 feet down a steep slope. His body was found only after a massive search that included five dog teams, four horse teams, eight hiking teams and a helicopter.

Though Fenn claimed it was discovered in June, there were plenty of observers–including some of Fenn’s friends–who claimed it was never hidden and the whole thing was a hoax, per this report. And Fenn passed away without providing any proof it was hidden or found.

Craythorn, 52, of Syracuse, Utah, made his initial appearance in Federal Court on October 22, 2020 before Chief Federal Magistrate Judge Kelly H. Rankin and entered a plea of not guilty to both counts. He is set for trial on December 14, 2020 in U.S. District Court in Casper, Wyoming.

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