Forrest Fenn Treasure Finder Finally Steps Forward
The treasure hunter who found Forrest Fenn's treasure identified himself Monday, just after family of Forrest Fenn said they'd be forced to identify him themselves if he didn't.
Jack Steuf, a 32-year-old medical student and former journalist identified himself as the finder of the treasure, just after a lawsuit from disappointed searchers would reveal his identity soon.
"For the past six months, I have remained anonymous, not because I have anything to hide, but because Forrest and his family endured stalkers, death threats, home invasions, frivolous lawsuits, and a potential kidnapping -- all at the hands of people with delusions related to his treasure," Steuf wrote on Medium. "I don't want those things to happen to me and my family."
Jack's claim was confirmed by Fenn's grandson, Shiloh Forrest Olds.
"My grandfather wanted to honor Jack's desire to remain anonymous in an effort to protect him from potential harm and harassment like my grandfather and the rest of our family have experienced over the years since the treasure was hidden, and especially since it was found," Olds said. "He went to great lengths and personal expense trying to help Jack retain his anonymity, and my family has continued to do so to the best of our ability up to this point."
Jack said the treasure is in a vault in New Mexico where it'll stay until he's ready to sell. In the meantime, he and his family moved into a more secure building.
"When I found the treasure, it ended the hopes of the many people around the world who wanted to one day find it," Steuf wrote. "I understand both the disappointment and disbelief many have and are experiencing and do not take personally the vitriolic comments made about me or the conspiracy theories that some seem to find comfort," he wrote. "But, to be clear, I am not and was never employed by Forrest, nor did he 'pick' me in any way to 'retrieve' the treasure. I was a stranger to him and found the treasure as he designed it."
"There were big gold nuggets from Alaska the size of your fist and gold coins, Krugerrands, and some little pre-Columbian statues, including a little frog," Doug Preston, who saw the treasure himself, told UPI in February. He said there were also a lot of "loose gems. It was like a pirate chest."
It took Jack 25 different search missions to find the treasure, which took him about 2 years to find. He said he ended up finding it after thinking about where Fenn would want to die.
"It's not an appropriate place to become a tourist destination," Steuf said. "It has huge meaning to Forrest, and I don't want to see it destroyed. And as much as I tried not to develop an attachment to the place, eventually I did, as well."
Fenn passed in September at age 90, but he was able to meet Steuf first.
"It's incredibly generous to leave a chest full of gold out in the wilderness for someone to find," Steuf said. "It's a whole other thing to set aside one's driving desire for a legacy in order to protect that stranger. Selflessness is the only way to describe it."
Read more at UPI