Forrest Fenn treasure hunter indicted for damage to Yellowstone

JACKSON, Wyo. — A man claiming to have been seeking the elusive Forrest Fenn treasure has been indicted by a federal grand jury after he was found digging in the historic Fort Yellowstone Cemetery.

Rodrick Dow Craythorn was indicted on September 16, 2020, on charges of excavating or trafficking in archeological resources and injury or depredation to United States property.

Count one of the indictment alleges Craythorn did knowingly and unlawfully excavate, remove, damage, alter and deface, and attempt to excavate, remove, damage, alter, and deface archeological resources, in particular the Fort Yellowstone Cemetery in Yellowstone National Park between October 1, 2019 and May 24, 2020.

The second count alleges Craythorn, during the same period, did willfully damage, injure, and commit depredation against property belonging to the United States. Craythorn was reported to have been searching for Forrest Fenn’s treasure in the Fort Yellowstone Cemetery when these acts allegedly occurred.

Forrest Fenn, an art dealer and author from Santa Fe, hid a treasure chest containing gold, rare coins, jewelry, and gemstones somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. The Fenn treasure spurred a decade long search. Treasure hunters used clues from a book Fenn had written to scour the west hoping to find the fortune.

The chest was eventually located in Wyoming in June 2020. Fenn passed away several months later.

Craythorn, 52, of Syracuse, Utah, made his initial appearance in Federal Court on October 22, 2020, before Chief Federal Magistrate Judge Kelly H. Rankin and entered a plea of not guilty to both counts. He is set for trial on December 14, 2020, in U.S. District Court in Casper, Wyoming.

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