A Colorado pastor, looking for a treasure chest hidden by a millionaire and purportedly filled with money and jewels, was found dead Sunday after he went missing in a rugged area of New Mexico.
Authorities said Sunday that a body found in the wilderness is believed to be Paris Wallace, according to The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Wallace had spent a week looking for the treasure that millionaire Forrest Fenn says he hid in 2010.
Thousands are believed to have sought the treasure Fenn says he stashed somewhere over a three-state area. Fenn said he planted the treasure and wrote a poem to help treasure seekers find the bronze chest that he said is filled with $2 million in gems and gold.
Wallace is at least the second person who has died while searching for the treasure. Last year, Randy Bilyeu, 54, went looking for the treasure in New Mexico along with his dog. When he failed to return, his wife filed a missing person’s report. A search recovered Bilyeu’s gear, and his dog was found, but Bilyeu was not. His body was recovered six months later.
Fenn, responding to reports of people being injured, told treasure hunters last week not to “overextend yourself.”
“Please don’t ever overextend yourself,” Fenn wrote in a post on mysteriouswritings.com. “I was 80 or about when I hid the treasure and it was not a difficult task. I will soon be 87 and I could go back and get it if I were so inclined, I think.”
Fenn also expressed condolences to Wallace’s family.
“My heart and my prayers go out to his family and his church,” Fenn said in a statement to “CBS This Morning” on Sunday. “It is such a tragedy.”
Below is the poem Fenn wrote to help treasure hunters find the chest.
“As I have gone alone in there
And with my treasures bold,
I can keep my secret where,
And hint of riches new and old.
Begin it where warm waters halt
And take it in the canyon down,
Not far, but too far to walk.
Put in below the home of Brown.
From there it’s no place for the meek,
The end is ever drawing nigh;
There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.
So why is it that I must go
And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answers I already know,
I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.
So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.”
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