After a controversial, decade-long chase, New Mexico multimillionaire Forrest Fenn revealed someone has finally found the treasure that he hid in the Rocky Mountains in 2010.
"I can confirm it’s been found," Fenn told TODAY. "It was found by a man from back East, but he’s shy. He doesn’t want his name released."
The treasure is believed to include a windfall valued at more than $2 million, including gold coins, diamonds and emeralds, among other gems.
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Fenn confirmed the man had, indeed, found the treasure by asking him to send a photo of the chest. Fenn declined to share where it was located.
"I don't want to share too much information right now," he said.
The news of the discovery was first reported by Thrill of the Chase, a blog devoted to the treasure hunt.
According to the post, apparently penned by Fenn himself, the chest "was under a canopy of stars in the lush, forested vegetation of the Rocky Mountains and had not moved from the spot where I hid it more than 10 years ago. I do not know the person who found it."
"I congratulate the thousands of people who participated in the search and hope they will continue to be drawn by the promise of other discoveries," the post continued. "So the search is over. Look for more information and photos in the coming days."
Fenn, an 89-year-old art dealer, said he was inspired to hide the treasure and release cryptic clues each month as a way to encourage more people to get outside and enjoy the wilderness. He estimated as many as 350,000 have searched for it, and many have even quit their jobs to do so, he told the Santa Fe New Mexican last year.
Among the first clues was a poem that Fenn published in his memoir, "The Thrill of the Chase." It contained nine hints about the treasure's location, tucked into lines such as, "Begin it where warm waters halt, and take it in the canyon down. Not far, but too far to walk. Put in below the home of Brown."
The real-life treasure hunt hasn't been all whimsy and fun, however. At least two thrill-seekers have died in search of the loot, and in 2017, New Mexico state police called on Fenn to end the game after a pastor looking for the treasure was found dead along the Rio Grande, just west of Santa Fe, according to The Albuquerque Journal.
Addressing the pressure to call off the hunt, Fenn told the New York Times at the time: "If someone drowns in the swimming pool we shouldn't drain the pool. We should teach people to swim."
Asked how he feels now that the treasure is found, Fenn told the Santa Fe New Mexican on Sunday, "I don’t know, I feel halfway kind of glad, halfway kind of sad because the chase is over."
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