On June 7, 2020, eccentric millionaire Forrest Fenn announced that the million-dollar-plus treasure chest he had buried in the Rocky Mountains in 2012 with clues hidden in his self-published memoir had been found. While he wouldn’t reveal the name of the lucky winner, he said the person showed him photographs that confirmed the discovery. This week, Fenn finally revealed the photographs (see them here), including some of himself with the chest. That settles it, right? Not so fast! A well-known news anchor who claims he helped Fenn popularize the treasure and the hunt back in 2012 says he doesn’t believe this is the real treasure and reveals his gruesome reason why.
“There’s no proof that it’s been found. He’s offered none. And he’s 89 now. It’s possible that what he’s actually doing is creating an opening for himself to complete the rather dark and bizarre plan he explained to me nearly a decade ago.”
Tony Dokoupil, “CBS This Morning” news anchor, was a reporter for Newsweek when he first met Forrest Fenn in August 2012 and conducted a detailed interview that gave the Fenn treasure hunt the publicity it was lacking. He detailed Forrest Fenn’s interesting background running an art gallery catering to celebrities (John Wayne, Jackie Kennedy, Cher) and the chest’s contents — gold coins, gold nuggets, a vial of gold dust, two gold discs, antiques, jewelry and more. Fenn also told him the one key clue that leads Dokoupil to believe the treasure wasn’t found earlier this month.
“When people find the treasure, they’ll find my bones. But my bio will be inside so at least they’ll know who I was.”
That’s right – Fenn was planning to have his own bones buried with the treasure. At the time in 2012 he had received a diagnosis of kidney cancer and not much of a chance of surviving. While he didn’t reveal how he would do it, Dokoupil believed the chest would contain at least some of Fenn’s own bones.
Fenn was a bone digging amateur archeologist himself, although mostly on his extensive property in New Mexico, which is a National Historic Landmark due to being on the legendary Santa Fe Trail. However, Dokoupil found that in the late 1990s Fenn was accused of disturbing Native American graves and removing bones. Fenn escaped prosecution by pointing out that the state had illegally trespassed on his property to obtain evidence and he had buried the bones again, just not in the graves. Did we say Fenn was eccentric?
This week, Dokoupil told Inside Edition that the photos of the treasure aren’t proof because they’re not dated and no other details were included with them. He also says the photos of Fenn with the treasure are old ones taken before he allegedly buried it without his bones.
“I think the treasure is in a location where an older man can still get to it and crawl or insert himself in and alongside the chest. I mean, that’s how it was explained to me. You have a guy who’s been collecting archaeology his whole life, is so in love with it he’s hatched a plan to make himself part of that record for all time and invite the public in to try to find it and his bones. I am confident it is not a hoax. Forrest wants to be remembered for thousands of years, and this is his way of doing so.”
Who do you believe … eccentric millionaire Forrest Fenn or well-respected reporter Tony Dokoupil?
It looks like the Fenn treasure hunt isn’t over yet.