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Pastor Disappears, Latest Victim Of Treasure Hunt Across Western US

A body discovered Monday in Northern New Mexico may be that of a Colorado pastor who disappeared recently in search of a hidden treasure.

Police discovered the body, which they have yet to positively identify, close to where Pastor Paris Wallace, of Grand Junction, left his vehicle to search on foot for the treasure of millionaire Forrest Fenn, according to an AP report. Fenn, an antiquities dealer, hid the treasure in 2010 and in 2015 read a poem on CBS Sunday Morning that allegedly holds the clues necessary to find the treasure.

The only other clue Fenn revealed was a warning — it is not in a mine. Fenn said the treasure is a chest, located somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, containing jewels, gold coins, artifacts, and precious metals valued somewhere in the millions.

Police said they located Wallace’s car, along with receipts showing that he’d purchased a rope and other supplies, near Taos junction bridge. A torn rope was found a short distance away, lain across a tributary of the Rio Grande, and the body was found 5 to 7 miles downriver from the car.

Wallace is not the first victim to go missing in search of Fenn’s treasure. Greg Bilyeu, a 54 year old man from Colorado, disappeared in January 2016 after he began a hunt for the chest. Bilyeu’s remains were found in July of the same year, along the Rio Grande. Thousands of other would-be treasure hunters have returned empty handed after searching across the backcountry of New Mexico and Yellowstone.

Fenn said in 2010 that the treasure would be difficult to find. “I made it hard deliberately,” Fenn said. “If it was easy, anyone could do it.”

Today, however, Fenn mourned the latest life¬†lost in search of his treasure, according to CBS. “My heart and my prayers go out to his family and his church,” Fenn said. “It is such a tragedy.”

With the confirmed death of Bilyeu and the possible death of Wallace, some are now calling for the treasure hunt to end.

Fenn’s poem reads:

As I have gone alone in there
And with my treasures bold,
I can keep my secret where,
And hint of riches new and old.
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.
From there it’s no place for the meek,
The end is ever drawing nigh;
There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.
So why is it that I must go
And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answers I already know,
I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.
So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.

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