Report: IL man fell to his death in Yellowstone NP while treasur - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Report: IL man fell to his death in Yellowstone NP while treasure hunting

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Murphy fell to his death in 2017 (YNP report) Murphy fell to his death in 2017 (YNP report)

BILLINGS - An Illinois man fell to his death in Yellowstone National Park last year, according to a recently released report from the park, marking what may be the third person to die while searching for Forrest Fenn’s hidden treasure.

The report states that Joseph “Jeff” Murphy of Illinois fell about 500 feet to his death near Turkey Penn Peak in June.

A recent records request from a Montana news outlet led to the release of the report.

After interviews with Murphy’s wife and a review of his laptop, authorities believe Murphy was searching for Forrest Fenn’s treasure, which is estimated to be worth $2 million.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, two other men have died while searching for the cache of gold.

Murphy had a fascination with treasure hunting, according to a transcript of law enforcement’s interview with his wife.

The couple had driven from Illinois to Yellowstone National Park on Memorial Day weekend.

When they returned home, Murphy said he wanted to go back to Yellowstone and continue searching for the treasure.

Murphy told his wife that he “thinks it is on the north side of the trail,” according to the report.

Despite his wife’s concerns about him hiking alone, Murphy decided to fly back to the park just days later.

Murphy called in sick the first day of his trip, which his boss said was uncharacteristic of Murphy.

The employer said he was aware of Murphy’s interest in treasure hunting, but said Murphy mostly kept his hobby to himself.

Murphy had planned to hike 4 miles to where he believed he would find the treasure.

When Murphy did not return from his hike and failed to contact his wife, she contacted authorities.

Authorities attempted to ping Murphy’s phone but it was off.

Park officials located Murphy’s vehicle and put a boot on the tire so he would be forced to contact them before leaving.

Those searching for Murphy also found his laptop, which had several open pages about Forest Fenn’s treasure and Google searches for “Rescue Creek Trail and Rescue Creek Trail and Lave Creek hike 734.”

Five dog teams, eight hiking teams and four horse teams all assisted in the search for Murphy.

Authorities eventually found Murphy’s body and transported him from the scene.

An autopsy revealed blunt force trauma was the cause of death.

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