SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Santa Fe art collector and author Forrest Fenn is being publicly called out after a Colorado man died searching for his treasure.
In a few open letters to Forrest Fenn, his legendary treasure is called a scam.
“Was he actually searching for the treasure or a possible illusion,” said Linda Bilyeu.
One of the letters posted online is from 54-year-old Randy Bilyeu’s ex-wife, Linda. Part of it states, “Do you care that treasure hunters risk their lives to search your hoax?”
“I truly believe he was manipulated to believe it was there,” said Linda Bilyeu.
In January, Randy set out to find Fenn’s hidden treasure in Northern New Mexico, said to be hidden in the Rockies containing $2 million in emeralds, diamonds, rubies and gold. He never returned home, his body identified last week.
“Randi was an adventurous person,” said Linda Bilyeu. “He was a very determined person.”
In Linda’s letter she said her ex-husband was conned.
“I don’t want anybody to get hurt,” said Bilyeu.
KRQE News 13 reached out to Fenn.
In a written statement he said, “It is terrible that Randy Bilyeu was lost while looking for the treasure. So many of us searched in the air and on the ground with no positive results. I hope in time the family will heal and move on with their lives. My prayers are with them in this very stressful time.”
As to if the treasure is real he wrote, “The treasure is not a hoax and it is still resting where I hid it about six years ago.”
When KRQE News 13 asked Fenn to respond specifically to Linda’s open letter, he said no comment.
He did say though, he’s heard from many families over the years that have had great experiences being in the mountains, searching for his treasure.
Randy’s daughter also wrote an open letter to Fenn, along with a few others.