Mammoth – A search for the Forrest Fenn treasure ended in death in Yellowstone last spring. That is confirmed by the park investigation that was kept private. The report was acquired through a Freedom of Information Act Request.
Yellowstone Park officials started a search for 53-year old Jeff Murphy June 8. He had hiked up Rescue Creek Trail near Mammoth the day before. Yellowstone’s investigative report reveals Murphy’s wife told Park authorities Murphy was looking for the Forrest Fenn treasure when she called to report him missing.
Murphy’s body was found June 9th. The park report contains pictures of the path his 500 foot fall from Turkey Pen Peak. The incident report says “it appeared he stepped or hopped into the chute from the less steep slope above.”
But, the report makes clear that the fall was an accident. It says Murphy did not commit suicide.
The official report was often redacted, and it withheld Murphy’s wife’s name. But, she called Penny Preston in October. Preston contacted her recently after receiving the Park report. Murphy’s wife said she did not want to comment on the report. However, she didn’t disagree with the findings.
The report shows that Murphy emailed Forrest Fenn in the days before Murphy’s death. It also shows emails from Fenn to Yellowstone officials during the search. The man who invited people to look for his chest of gold and jewels in the Rockies was very concerned about Murphy, and also offered to help pay for a helicopter to find the missing man. He also wrote that he had never been to the area where Murphy fell.
Murphy’s wife also emailed Forrest Fenn during the search. She told him, “I hope your quest won’t be adversely affected by these current events…”
While Yellowstone spokeswoman Morgan Warthin had earlier confirmed that Murphy’s death was associated with a hunt for the Forrest Fenn Treasure, she declined an interview on the incident report.
When contacted by email for a comment on the Yellowstone report, Fenn said he did not want to comment.