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Treasure hunter faces charges after digging in Yellowstone

Santa Fe author Forrest Fenn posted this photo of treasurer he says was recently found, bringing an end to the treasure hunt he ignited with the publication of his book “The Thrill of the Chase” in 2010. (Courtesy of Dal Neitzel)

CASPER (WNE) — A federal grand jury has indicted a man who claimed to have been seeking the Forrest Fenn treasure after he was found digging in a Yellowstone National Park cemetery, the U.S. Attorney for Wyoming announced Thursday.

Rodrick Dow Craythorn faces charges of excavating or trafficking in archaeological resources and injury or depredation to United States property. He pleaded not guilty Thursday to both counts and is set to stand trial on Dec. 14 in Casper.

Caythorn, 52, was allegedly found digging in the historic Fort Yellowstone Cemetery, according to the announcement. He was reportedly searching for the treasure buried by Forrest Fenn, a New Mexico art dealer who sparked a treasure hunt spanning several Mountain West states after announcing that he had hid the riches and offered clues to finding them.

According to the indictment, Craythorn unlawfully excavated or damaged the cemetery without having a permit sometime between Oct. 1, 2019 and May 24 of this year. It further alleges he caused more than $1,000 in damages.

The grand jury indicted Craythorn on Sept. 16. He faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted.

Craythorn’s attorney declined comment on Thursday.

Some people died while searching for Fenn’s treasure. Others have needed to be rescued, including an Indiana man who climbed into the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone in December. The man was later banned from the park.

Fenn’s treasure was found this summer. He died in September at age 90.