Search for fabled $2m Fenn's Treasure claims fifth life in the US

Art dealer Forrest Fern included a map and poem in his memoir, drawing thousands to the Rocky Mountains to hunt the treasure over the years

Fenn's treasure
A photo provided by Forrest Fenn shows a chest purported to contain gold dust, hundreds of rare gold coins, gold nuggets and other artifacts

A fifth person has died while searching for “Fenn’s Treasure” - an elusive $2 million hoard said to be hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains by eccentric art dealer Forrest Fenn.

Michael Sexson, 53, from Deer Park in Colorado, set out last week with a friend to hunt for the treasure in a remote section of Dinosaur National Monument.

In February they had tried unsuccessfully to find the stash in the same area, getting trapped in the snow and needing to be rescued.

The men were reported missing and, after four days of searching, the body of Sexson was found.

Lt Chip McIntyre, Moffat County sheriff, said Sexson and his friend came armed with just a couple of bottles of water, some chocolate bars and a copy of Fenn's book.

His 65-year-old friend was airlifted to safety, and survived by wearing more appropriate clothes.

Forrest Fenn, an art dealer, announced the challenge in 2010

Mr Fenn, 89, announced in 2010 that he had buried a treasure somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, and his book The Thrill of the Chase featured a map and a poem.

Key elements mentioned in the poem are “warm waters halt,” the blaze, canyon down, and “home of Brown” - all of which are open to interpretation by searchers, who have traced them to landmarks across Colorado, New Mexico, Montana and Wyoming.

In addition to the cryptic poem and hints in his memoir, Mr Fenn has let a few details slip over the years – saying the treasure is at least 8.25 miles north of Santa Fe and above an elevation of 5,000 feet.

Thousands of thrill-seekers have since been drawn to the Rockies in search of the prize.

Mr Fenn told The Denver Post that he was saddened by the fifth death in the search.

“What happened was tragic,” he said. “My heart and prayers go out to the family and friends.”

In 2017, after New Mexico pastor Paris Wallace, 52, died searching for Fenn's treasure, the New Mexico State Police called on the art dealer to call off the treasure hunt, but so far he has refused to do so.