His Son Died Looking for Treasure. Now He Wants 'Eric's Law'

Eric Ashby's body was pulled from Arkansas River in July
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2018 10:50 AM CST
Forrest Fenn poses at his Santa Fe, NM, home in 2014.   (Luis Sanchez Saturno/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)
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(Newser) – He went in search of gold and jewels and, like others that came before him, died in pursuit. Authorities have confirmed 31-year-old Coloradan Eric Ashby is at least the third person to die in search of Forrest Fenn's $2 million treasure, which the art collector claims is hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, per People. Ashby was searching for the treasure with at least three friends when the raft they were using flipped on the Arkansas River in Colorado's Royal Gorge on June 28. While his friends made it to safety, Ashby was entangled in ropes and slipped beneath the water's surface, his father tells the Denver Channel. On Friday, DNA provided by Paul Ashby was used to positively identify a body found downstream a month later as his son's, reports the Albuquerque Journal.

Fenn—who gives clues to the treasure's location in his 2010 memoir The Thrill of the Chase—previously faced calls to end the hunt after the deaths of two searchers in New Mexico, including one whose body was found days before Ashby vanished, though he then said most people seemed to want the hunt to continue, per the Journal and Fox News. Ashby's father is focused on a different goal: He wants to see "Eric's Law" passed in Colorado. Inspired by the friends who failed to contact police as Ashby presumably drowned—they reportedly fled the scene, even after one saw Ashby clinging to a rock—it would require witnesses to report life-threatening situations to police, he tells the Denver Channel. "That takes away the injustice because all of a sudden Eric's life can save a life," Paul Ashby says.

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