Treasure Hunter Sentenced For Damaging Cemetery in Yellowstone
Throughout the years, many aspiring treasure seekers embarked on missions to find the elusive 'Forrest Fenn' treasure.
Forrest Fenn hid the treasure chest at a remote location in the Rocky Mountains in 2010. The treasure was finally found by treasure hunter Jack Stuef on June 6, 2020, in Wyoming.
Stuef released a statement about finding the treasure in December 2020.
Rodrick Dow Craythorn, 52, of Syracuse, Utah was also in search of the Fenn treasure, but his hunt ended much more poorly. According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice District of Wyoming, acting United States Attorney Bob Murray announced today that Craythorn was sentenced by Chief Federal District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl for excavating and damaging archeological resources in the cemetery of the Fort Yellowstone National Historic Landmark in Yellowstone National Park.
Craythorn received a sentence of six months in prison plus six months of home detention, to be followed by two years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $31,566 in restitution.
Craythorn was searching for the Forrest Fenn treasure in Fort Yellowstone’s cemetery in late 2019 and early 2020. Rangers and special agents of the National Park Service found evidence of Craython digging at multiple locations within the park and discovered 17 sites of illegal excavation, including damage to a historic grave.
The cemetery is a multicomponent archeological site with historical human burials, is included in the National Register of Historic Places, and was designated as a National Historic Landmark on July 31, 2003.
Forrest Fenn, a Santa Fe, New Mexico art dealer buried a chest of gold, silver, and gems in the western United States and then left a clue-filled poem to solve its location. The investigation into this matter revealed that Craythorn had done extensive research on the Forest Fenn treasure and documented his efforts to family and friends.
Yellowstone is one of the country’s most popular national parks and we must do everything in our power to investigate and prosecute those who damage and destroy its natural and cultural resources. A national park is no place to stage an adult treasure hunt motivated by greed. The harmful actions of Mr. Craythorn, no matter the reason or intent, destroyed valuable archaeological resources that cannot be undone. I am pleased with the results of this case. The teamwork between Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Hambrick and the rangers and special agents with our National Park Service resulted in the successful prosecution of a crime that a sentence of imprisonment is rarely imposed. Craythorn deserves time in federal prison, no matter the length. Yet this case really serves to remind those enjoying our national parks of the importance of respecting and preserving it for the whole of America.
said Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray.