Former Grapevine Pastor Dies in Search of Treasure

A former pastor at Grapevine Fellowship Church has died while searching for treasure in the mountains of New Mexico.

For years, thousands of people have set out in search for a treasure chest said to contain $2 million in gold and jewels.

Paris Wallace, who served as youth pastor at Fellowship Church from 1995 to 2002 before moving to Colorado, disappeared while searching last week.

His body was found Sunday.

Now the chief of the New Mexico State Police wants the treasure hunt to be called off. He's blaming the treasure hunt's organizer, Forrest Fenn, an author from Santa Fe.

"People start to make decisions that aren't based in good, sound judgment when it comes to money, much less than a million dollars. So I think he really needs to evaluate what atmosphere he's created," said New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas.

"I think there's a certain amount of responsibility. We've had two deaths in conjunction with this," Kassetas added.

Fenn says the treasure is hidden somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe.

Last year, a 54-year-old man died while on the search.

Fenn said he has always cautioned people searching for the treasure.

"The treasure's not hidden in a dangerous place, and I've said many times that don't look for the treasure any place an 80-year-old man couldn't put it, put a 42-pound box," Fenn said.

"I guarantee you we'll see more people killed. We'll see more people lost. And, God forbid, one of my search-and-rescue volunteers or one of my officers gets hurt or killed trying to either find somebody or recover a body, that's horrible," Kassetas said.

Fenn said he won't call off the search but said, "The loss of Pastor Wallace is a terrible, terrible tragedy."

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