Demand Grows to Call Off $2M Treasure Hunt as Another Searcher Disappears, Is Presumed Dead
Eric Ashby would be the third treasure hunter to die while looking for the hidden treasure.
There are renewed calls to end a treasure hunt for $2 million in gold after a Colorado man vanished while searching for it and is presumed dead.
Over the past year-and-a-half, at least two other men also died in remote areas while searching for a chest of gold that eccentric millionaire Forest Fenn claims he buried in the Rocky Mountains.
The latest victim, Eric Ashby, of Colorado Springs, was reportedly hunting with four others in a gorge and is believed to have drowned after his raft overturned on the Arkansas River.
Human remains found near the river have not yet been identified as Ashby.
In addition, it's unclear why neither of Ashby's companions reported the emergency.
His friends, Alicia Garsez and Dave Gambrell, believe something sinister may have happened during the treasure hunt.
“I don't know who thinks it's okay to leave someone when they are drowning,” Garsez told Inside Edition.
“These other four individuals we hold at highly gross negligence for letting Eric, when they had an opportunity to save him, they ran out of the canyon,” Gambrell said.
Gambrell says his 31-year-old friend moved to Colorado four months ago, specifically to search for the treasure and claims he was actually close to finding the elusive gold.
“Eric 100 percent knew and I believed him, based on the glimmer in his eyes, where Forrest Fenn's treasure was,” Gambrell said. "Eric died doing what he loved."
An amazing 65,000 people are believed to be looking for the buried treasure in a vast treacherous area stretching from Montana to New Mexico.
Forest Fenn is an 86-year-old art and antiques dealer who hid clues to finding the fortune in his book, The Thrill of the Chase.
“I hid that treasure chest when I was 79 or 80,” he told Inside Edition. “I have told people don't search anywhere where a 79 or 80-year-old man can't hide a treasure chest.
Linda Bilyeu, whose ex-husband, Randy, died last year while searching for the gold, says it's time for Fenn to call off the search.
“To Forrest Fenn, do the right thing,” she said.
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