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The Hunt for the Fenn Treasure Facebook Page
World News

American pastor found dead while on treasure hunt

by Tola Mbakwe

Paris Wallace is the second person to die after a quest for $2m worth of a chest of coins, precious artefacts and gems.

Forrest Fenn, a retired antiques dealer, said he hid the treasure in the Rocky Mountains in 2010 and has dropped clues to its whereabouts in a cryptic poem in his memoir, The Thrill Of The Chase.

New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas has asked Fenn to halt the search that thousands of people are taking a part of, saying he's "putting lives at risk."

Fenn told the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper on Monday that he had been considering how to make the search safer or cancel it but has not made any decisions. He called Mr Wallace's disappearance tragic.

Wallace travelled to the Espanola area last week. His wife reported him missing on Wednesday after he did not return home and hotel staff told her that his belongings were still in his room.

Rescuers spent two days searching the Rio Grande until rafters spotted a body downstream - about seven miles from where he was last believed to have been.

Mitzi Wallace, the pastor's fellow treasure hunter and wife of 30 years, said it would be a mistake for Fenn to end the hunt, and she would continue to search for the treasure with her 19 year old son, including in the area where authorities believe her husband died.

"Our treasure is that time we spend together," she said.

She added that her husband put himself in a dangerous situation that cost him his life, but added: "I know without a shadow of a doubt that it was God's way of taking him."

Last year, searchers spent weeks looking for Randy Bilyeu, another Colorado man who disappeared in the New Mexico back country while looking for the loot.

Volunteers led by his ex-wife eventually picked up where the official search left off, and his remains were found several months later.

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