Man who found $1 million treasure in Rocky Mountains identified

A 32-year-old medical student has been identified as the finder of a million-dollar treasure that evaded seekers for more than a decade.

Wealthy New Mexico antiquities dealer Forrest Fenn filled a bronze chest with more than $1 million in gold, jewels and other valuables and hid it somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, leaving nothing but a cryptic poem he wrote in 2010 as a clue on how to find it.

When a lucky searcher struck gold and found the chest in June, Fenn did not identify the winner, who wished to remain anonymous, and he did not reveal the location of the chest, telling ABC News after it was found that he “hid it in a pretty good place.”

But, Michigan native Jonathan “Jack” Stuef has now made his identity public after a federal court order against Fenn’s estate would have made his name public.

On a website dedicated to the treasure hunt, Fenn’s grandson, Shiloh Forrest Old, wrote that Stuef found the treasure chest “as a result of years of careful searching.”

Stuef became hooked on the idea of finding the treasure after learning about it on Twitter in 2018, he told Outside magazine.

Stuef, a career writer, graduated from Georgetown University in 2009 and worked for the Onion and later freelanced for Buzzfeed before enrolling in medical school, Outside reported. He read Fenn’s memoir, “The Thrill of the Chase,” and learned everything he could about the eccentric millionaire before starting his search for the treasure.

Stuef found it on June 6 in Wyoming — two years after his quest began — in the place where Fenn wrote that he wished to die.

Thousands of people pursued the elusive treasure since 2010, and at least five people died in the thrill of the chase.