Rodrick Dow Craythorn, a treasure hunter seeking a fabled treasure in an old cemetery in Yellowstone National Park made his initial court appearance this week after being indicted by a federal grand jury after he was found digging in the historic Fort Yellowstone Cemetery. The indictment came down on September 16, 2020 where Craythorn was charged with trafficking in archeological resources for excavating in the Fort Yellowstone graveyard. The charges say that he caused injury or depredation to United States property.
In the first count of the indictment it is alleged that Craythorn, “Did knowingly and unlawfully excavate, remove, damage, alter and deface, and attempt to excavate, remove, damage, alter, and deface archeological resources.” The excavation is said to have occurred between October 1, 2019 and May 24, 2020.
A second count of the indictment alleges Craythorn willfully damaged, property belonging to the United States. Craythorn was reported to have been searching for Forrest Fenn’s treasure in the Fort Yellowstone Cemetery when these acts allegedly occurred.
Forrest Fenn was an art dealer and author who lived in Santa Fe, started a chase for riches ten years ago when he told readers of his 2010 memoir “The Thrill of The Chase” that he had hidden a treasure chest containing gold, rare coins, jewelry, and gemstones somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. For ten years treasure hunters used clues from the book find the fortune. The cache, purported to be worth more than one million dollars was eventually located somewhere in Wyoming in June of this year. Forrest Fenn died in September. The finder of the loot and the specific location of the treasure have not been revealed.
Craythorn is from Syracuse, Utah. He made his initial appearance in Federal Court on Thursday before Chief Federal Magistrate Judge Kelly H. Rankin and said he was not guilty on both counts. Trial is set for December 14, 2020 in U.S. District Court in Casper.