Cemetery, Regulations

Treasure seeker pleads guilty in Fort Yellowstone Cemetery charges

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It was reported in this press release from the United States Attorneys District of Wyoming office that a treasure seeker in the Forrest Fenn inspired treasure hunt had pleaded guilty to charges of “excavating or trafficking in archaeological resources, and injury or depredation to United States property” within Fort Yellowstone Cemetery.

This is not the typical Funeral Director Daily article but it is a tale that I found very interesting and, quite frankly, was amazed that I had not heard about before.  And, it involves charges within a cemetery so, it technically fits in the realm of what we report on.

Here is a National Public Radio (NPR) story on the charges and guilty plea from the Fort Yellowstone Cemetery case.

The press release continues to inform the reader that “Roderick Dow Craythorn , age 52, of Syracuse, Utah, was charged and evidentially plead guilty to “digging within the Fort Yellowstone Cemetery while looking for the treasure buried by Forrest Fenn”.  . . . .“The hunt for the Forrest Fenn treasure was often viewed as a harmless diversion, but in this case it led to substantial damage to important public resources,” said US Attorney Mark Klaassen.  “The Defendant let his quest for discovery override respect for the law.”  

Maybe I’m living under a rock, but what really made this information interesting to me was that I had not heard of the “Forrest Fenn treasure hunt” before this press release came to my attention.  Reading the above press release caused me to look into it and I learned that Mr. Fenn, who was an 80 year old multi-millionaire at the time the hunt was initiated, put over a million dollars worth of gold and jewelry into a 10″ by 10″ box chest and buried it in the Rocky Mountain region in 2010.

He then publicized his doing so and published a poem and book with hints on how to find it.  He explained that the finder could keep the contents and his reasoning for doing so was, at least in part, to create a love for the outdoors and adventure among the next generation of Americans.  There are those who believe, however, his reasoning could have been to sell the book.

In any regard, good and bad came to those who were fortune seekers.  There are several people, including full families who said the search has given them a new lease on life, while on the other hand, there are at least five documented deaths of those chasing for the treasure.

Here is a story National Public Radio (NPR) did on the search back in 2016.

While it seemed the story was over when the treasure was found by a Mr. Jack Steuf, a 32-year old medical student, this past summer and then by the natural  death of Mr. Fenn shortly after the discovery, the story will continue as at least one lawsuit has been filed alleging that a hacked cellphone may have helped lead to the discovery.

Here is an NBC Today Show short video announcing the finding of the Forest Fenn treasure.

So, this is a little bit different than most of my articles, but at least you know that if you are “digging”, and its not for a permitted burial, on a United States owned or operated cemetery, you may put yourself in jeopardy of legal charges.  And, that is at least one bit of valuable information you picked up from today’s Funeral Director Daily article.

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One Comment

  1. That’s quite the story! Very interesting!!

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