SANTA FE, N.M. – A treasure hunter from Colorado who disappeared while looking for gold in New Mexico in January has been found dead.
Investigators confirmed that remains found near Cochiti Lake on the Rio Grande were those of Randy Bilyeau, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. Cochiti Lake is about 50 miles upstream from Albuquerque.
A crew with the Army Corps of Engineers found the remains earlier this month, according to the paper.
Bilyeu, 54, was from Broomfield.
Investigators did not release any other information and said the case is still active.
Bilyeu’s family said he was searching for gold that was reportedly buried somewhere in the Rocky Mountains by eccentric millionaire Forrest Fenn.
“He read Forrest Fenn’s book and he read the poem and got really into it, just trying to find the treasure,” Bilyeu’s daughter Carissa Nieves told FOX31 Denver earlier this year.
On Tuesday, Bilyeu’s ex-wife told The Albuquerque Journal that she believes there is no treasure and he “lost his life chasing a hoax.”
The Journal also talked to Fenn after Bilyeu’s death was confirmed.
“That’s very unfortunate, and I’m sorry,” the Journal quoted Fenn as saying.
However, Fenn insisted the treasure is not a hoax.
“The treasure is real, the story is real,” Fenn told the paper.
In the past, Fenn has said the treasure is not hidden in a dangerous place and that “no one should search in a place where an 80-year-old man could not hide it.”