Treasure hunter faces charges for damages in Yellowstone

All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Rodrick Dow Craythorn, 52, of Syracuse, Utah, was indicted earlier this week by a federal grand jury, according to a release Thursday.

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He was reportedly digging in the historic Fort Yellowstone Cemetery between October 1, 2019 and May 24, 2020 in search of the elusive Forrest Fenn treasure.

Craythorn entered a plea of not guilty for the following charges: excavating or trafficking in archeological resources and injury or depredation to United States property.

A trial has been set for December 14, 2020 in U.S. District Court in Casper. 

Count one of the indictment alleges Craythorn did knowingly and unlawfully excavate, remove, damage, alter and deface, and attempt to excavate, remove, damage, alter, and deface archeological resources, in particular the Fort Yellowstone Cemetery in Yellowstone National Park.

The second count alleges Craythorn, during the same period, did willfully damage, injure, and commit depredation against property belonging to the United States. Craythorn was reported to have been searching for Forrest Fenn’s treasure in the Fort Yellowstone Cemetery when these acts allegedly occurred. 

Forrest Fenn, an art dealer and author from Santa Fe, hid a treasure chest containing gold, rare coins, jewelry, and gemstones somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. The Fenn treasure spurred a decade long search. Treasure hunters used clues from a book Fenn had written to scour the west hoping to find the fortune. The chest was eventually located in Wyoming in June 2020. Forrest Fenn passed away several months later.

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