Randy Bilyeu Missing: Fenn Treasure Man Fans In Santa Fe Remain Hopeful
Randy Bilyeu has been missing for over three weeks, and many treasure hunters paid by Forrest Fenn are looking for him. Bilyeu was searching for a $1m–$3m treasure hidden in the Rocky Mountains by Fenn.
Randy Bilyeu went missing as he was hunting for a modern day treasure belonging to famed art dealer and millionaire Forrest Fenn.
Bilyeu, 54, a grandfather from Broomfield, Colorado moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in early January to look for the chest that Fenn has hidden in the Rocky Mountains.
The mogul, who was battling cancer in the late 1980s, filled a chest containing gold nuggets, rare coins, jewelry, and gemstones worth between $1m and $3m, along with a jar holding his autobiography and planned to bury it before his passing.
However, he survived the illness and when he turned 80, he announced a mega treasure hunt prompting hundreds of people to move to Santa Fe hoping to solve Fenn’s 2010 poem containing clues to the treasure’s whereabouts.
According to family members, no one has heard from Bilyeu since January 4, and they reported him missing on January 14. State Police Search and Rescue suspended the search on January 18 due to a lack of fresh clues after his car was found parked along the river west of town and his dog, still alive, and a raft located downstream with maps inside.
Determined to find the missing man, Fenn has been spending thousands of dollars on searchers on feet, chartered helicopters and planes, looking near the upper Rio Grande for any sign of Bilyeu. Fenn said he is not giving up and added:
“Every time we go out and don’t find Randy it’s discouraging but we’re not going to give up,””There are still places out there that I want to look.”
Fenn also explained why 80 to 100 people join the treasure hunt per week. He stated:
“The hope of finding the treasure is one thing, of course, but there’s a sense of adventure when you get out in the mountains and in the sunshine and the fresh air. One of my motives was to get the kids off the couch and away from the game machine.”
Additionally, the website dedicated to the Fenn cache located at the following address dalneitzel.com has daily updates about the search for Bilyeu. However, despite the incident, Fenn has no plans to suspend the hunt, and he has made it clear that he is not to be blamed for Bilyeu’s disappearance, and he had issued plenty of warnings about not searching in winter because the snow hides the chest. He shared:
“What happened is very unfortunate, but if someone is lost in the mountains while deer hunting, should we stop everyone from hunting?.There’s nothing that’s inherently safe. You’re more likely to die on your way to work than hiking in the mountains. Everything has a small amount of danger to it.”
Sacha Johnston, who has organized ground searches for Bilyeu near Santa Fe over the past two weeks, said a group will be looking again along the Rio Grande over the weekend. Johnston claimed:
“A lot of people want to bring Randy’s family some closure. We feel like someone should be putting an effort towards it. We seriously will keep looking for Randy until he is found, whether that’s this year or next year. He’s between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, presumably. We’re so close.”
According to Fenn, 85, “the treasure is hidden higher than 5,000 feet above sea level, but it isn’t buried, nor in a graveyard, nor associated with any structure.”
What are your thoughts on Randy Bilyeu’s disappearance?