Investigators in Fremont County haven’t yet identified a body that was found in the Arkansas River last week, but they suspect that it may turn out to be a man who moved to Colorado to search for a box of treasure hidden by a wealthy art dealer – a challenge that has drawn nationwide attention and has already cost at least two lives.
31-year-old Eric Ashby moved to Colorado Springs in hopes of finding the box of gold and jewels – reportedly worth some $2M – that Forrest Fenn says he hid somewhere in the western United States. Fenn first announced the scavenger hunt eight years ago, the only clues to the treasure’s whereabouts being contained in an cryptic poem.
Ashby was last seen on June 28th when he disappeared during a rafting accident near the Royal Gorge. A photographer who was in the area at the time of the incident saw a man apparently drown, but a search didn’t turn up any signs of the victim. The accident itself wasn’t reported until 10 days later. Authorities say that four friends of Ashby’s who were in the raft were afraid to come forward.
The Fremont County Coroner’s Office will be performing an autopsy on the body, which was found just east of Florence.
Last month, Authorities asked Fenn to call off the treasure hunt after a pastor from Colorado died while searching for it. Fenn says he has repeatedly urged anyone looking for the treasure to be very careful.