By Associated Press in Albuquerque, New Mexico
A treasure hunter who disappeared this year while searching for an author’s cache of gold and jewels in the New Mexico wilderness was confirmed dead by authorities Tuesday after his remains were discovered west of Santa Fe.
Santa Fe Police spokesman Greg Gurule said medical investigators confirmed the remains found along the Rio Grande north of Cochiti Lake were those of Randy Bilyeu, a 54-year-old grandfather from Colorado.
Gurule said the investigation into the death remains active, and declined further comment.
Bilyeu disappeared in early January while searching for antiquities dealer and writer Forrest Fenn’s $2m hoard of gold and jewels in northern New Mexico.
Fenn dropped clues about the treasure in a cryptic poem in his self-published 2011 memoir, The Thrill of the Chase, inspiring tens of thousands to search for it.
Fenn, an eccentric 85-year-old from Santa Fe, has inspired a cult following since his announcement several years ago that he stashed a small bronze chest somewhere in the Rocky Mountains.