Forrest Fenn, a Santa Fe author and antiquities dealer who launched a treasure hunt in 2010 after claiming he hid a chest filled with gold and other valuables somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, is seeking a restraining order against a 55-year-old Texas man.
Fenn’s application for a restraining order, filed Wednesday in a state District Court, says the Irving, Texas, man has sent “troubling” emails and showed up at Fenn’s Santa Fe home uninvited earlier this month. The court document says Fenn fears the man may kidnap a family member.
The New Mexican is not naming the man because a judge has not yet issued a restraining order against him. Judge Sarah Singleton has scheduled a hearing for May 9 to determine if she will grant the restraining order, court records show.
It’s unclear if the Texas man is seeking the treasure chest that Fenn described in his 2010 autobiography, The Thrill of the Chase. Countless treasure hunters have followed clues in a poem in the book that Fenn has said will lead to the million-dollar trove.
One searcher, Randy Bilyeu of Colorado, died after trying to navigate the frigid Rio Grande in a small, inflatable raft. He disappeared in January 2016, and his remains were discovered in July. Other searchers have been rescued after losing their way in the wilderness. Still, Fenn has refused to reveal the location of the chest.
Many people seeking the treasure have communicated with Fenn through letter and emails, and some have visited him in Santa Fe. But the hunt also has brought Fenn and his family unwanted attention.
In his application for a restraining order against the Texas man, Fenn said the man “showed up at my address uninvited, would not leave immediately when asked to do so. Walked around the yard taking photographs. Showed up again the next day. He has said he will be coming again.”
“I fear harm to myself and my family,” Fenn added. “We fear kidnapping or worse.”
Fenn also said the man has a “rap sheet” in Texas.
Last summer, a Nevada man who had come to Santa Fe several times in search of Fenn’s granddaughter was extradited and has since been convicted of stalking the woman.
Francisco Chavez, 47, was sentenced in September to wear a GPS electronic monitor for 268 days. But 10 days later, he tampered with his GPS device and was arrested. He is serving the remainder of his sentence in the Santa Fe County jail and is scheduled for release July 3, court records show.
A police report detailed months of correspondence between Fenn and a Chavez, who appeared to be obsessed with Fenn’s granddaughter. He appeared at her mother’s house twice, the report said, and apparently stopped by the granddaughter’s workplace.
A package sent to Fenn contained photos of his granddaughter with disturbing messages written on them, the report said, and a note saying the man had solved Fenn’s riddle and determined the treasure was his granddaughter.
Contact Uriel Garcia at 505-986-3062 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ujohnnyg.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled Forrest Fenn's first name as Forest.