Organized Search Party for Randy……

January 18th, 2016



Tomorrow, (January 19th, 2016) we will be searching for Randy.  We could use searchers, equipment, and helpers.


We will be meeting at Exit 264 on I-25, west side of the highway, at 8 am on Tuesday, January 19th.

If you can help us, we will gladly accept it.  We will be searching from south of where the raft was found, up to where the car was parked, and as much area in between as we can cover.

If you DO want to search tomorrow, there are a few rules we have to follow:

-Wear brightly colored vest or jacket.  We need to make sure our searchers are easy to spot from the air.

-Bring plenty of WATER!  One bottle is not enough.

-Let us know where you are searching.  We don’t want a searcher to be mistaken for Randy.  We don’t want to accidentally deploy any rescue teams either.

-Don’t touch ANYTHING that looks out of place.  We will provide you with a way to mark the location, but it is vital that we don’t affect evidence in any open investigation.

-PLEASE be sure to check in with me.  I will be keeping a list of everyone on the team, and making sure everyone checks out and goes home.

If you have ATVs, handheld radios, vests, drones, horses, mountain bikes, maps, or anything else that you think might help find Randy, please email me at and I will respond with how to coordinate your help.

In addition to this “boots on the ground” search we will also have an aircraft flown by a searcher from Durango with Cynthia as spotter.

Thank you all.  The response has been wonderful.

Lets all be safe out there




94 thoughts on “Organized Search Party for Randy……

  1. Good luck to everyone! Just a thought, should we reach out to off duty Police, Firemen and military personnel who are familiar with rugged terrain?

  2. Sacha just received an email from John who spoke of a fellow searcher named Gene who spotted a map of Frijoles Canyon on the dash board of Randy’s car which was still at the end of Buckman Rd this morning. The raft and Leo were found 2/10ths of a mile (per ex-wife Linda) downstream from Frijoles Canyon. Maybe Randy ‘s search spot was Frijole Falls not too far up the canyon from the river. So it’s possible the camp found at the raft was intentional. Just speculation but at least we have a better possible area to try to search by air and on the ground tomorrow. We will do our best to find Randy.

    • The location of the raft and Leo makes sense if he headed up that canyon.

      If the pictures are in the correct spot (GE), the falls appear to be less than a mile from the river so perhaps that’s where he was headed? Wonder if anyone hiked in there yet to look for him?

      Good luck tomorrow and be safe.

    • I agree with you ! It’s looks like, from GE the Frijoles canyon would have been easy to get to if that’s what he wanted to do. Perhaps he thought that was the HOB and he wanted to be below that. Unless the river is very low ,I don’t think he would try to cross it, especially knowing he could have landed there in the first place. I think you should concentrate your search efforts on the same side as the raft, 2 or 3 miles north or south .
      I wouldn’t cross that river on foot and leave my dog for a billion dollars!

      • Agree, he is probably on the east side. Comb the bushes/crevices 3 mile out from raft. The raft was on that side so more than likely would not have re-entered the water UNLESS “The treasure is wet” comment was part of his thinking.

        • I don’t think Randy would believe that meant in the “middle of a river.” If anything he would search the edges. If he wanted to be on the other side he would have landed there in the first place or take the raft with his dog.

          • Wish all the searchers well and safety and thank you.

            I still believe he could have stayed alert enough with those thermal CHEST waders on to crawl out down the river after a slip, but then hypothermia hitting once out in the air. I can’t imagine crossing that river at any time of year and staying upright if it’s like the places I searched on the Rio. He pulled his raft far up away from the bank into the bushes. I think he would have done the same with himself had he crawled out.

            His comment was that he believed it to be in a log. A log area to me would be in Frijoles Canyon where the trees fell like in Forrest’s drawing of the trees being all stumps. He never rafted before…I’ve been in a boat and with winds and only paddles it’s hard to navigate and especially find a place he’s not familiar with. He would have never seen Frijoles from that vantage point.

            As someone who’s been obsessed with finding it for 5 years….I hope his family realizes he wanted so badly to find it and for you guys to be proud of him and to take care of those he loved. Please consider what he was willing to try and do to create that reality. Hugs and Love…..

          • Another reason I believe I know for sure that he went in the water is that he took a snap to send to his girlfriend WITH the waders ON. Where are they? He would NOT have carried them to hike…those things are heavy. He also would NOT have hiked in them….those things are heavy. He went in the water.

    • I’m further saddened to learn Randy may have been wearing chest waders; and that he didn’t heed warnings from family & friends. Given his belief the treasure was inside a log along the river, it’s very plausible he was searching around logs and underbrush wearing waders in the water and slipped. Dal’s right, waders fill quickly; river bottoms are slippery – in even a few feet of water you could be sucked under and washed into underbrush along a river bank.

      I’m still holding out hope the brave, kindred souls searching for him today will find Randy. May God bless your efforts and protect each of you.

        • we were staying in red river nm and decide to take a day to look where wolf was in bear canyon. i fell in the river in two feet in two of water wearing blue jeans and i was swept several feet down stream till water got more shallow. i by the way i am 300 pounds. water is very powerful and should not be underestimated.

  3. Safe searching and best of luck. I hope that all goes well and Randy will be back with his family. I wish I was able to be there and help search.

  4. wish I could be there to help.I’m not a searcher or hiker,but sitting up a eating,drinking ,resting area,first aid would be a good idea to help you guys when tired.tents ,portable pottys for the next day etc.god bless you all for what you are doing to find randy.

  5. Gog bless all of you participating in the search. Thoughts and prayers are with Randy, his family, and all of you searching for him.


    Windy City

  6. I’ve been on many searches for the treasure chest, including using a rubber raft about the same size as Randy’s raft, to cross a river similar to the Rio Grande. I’ve looked at the raft location on Google Earth and all of the surrounding area. I think he was intentionally going to search Frijoles Canyon. If it was somewhere before Frijoles and he overshot it, there are many locations that he could have paddled to shore before going to Frijoles. Frijoles has some interesting features that could easily fit some of the poem clues — no paddle up your creek, water high, etc.

    As some have supposed, when Randy got near Frijoles Canyon he couldn’t beach the raft on the brushy, rocky west bank, so went on past to the sandbar on the east side. If he was going to search the east side of the river (where there is very little if anything that fits any of the clues) he would not have worn his wetsuit to hike up the steep canyon walls. He would’ve left it at the raft. And I think he would have taken his dog with him.

    So he was probably going across the river to Frijoles Canyon. He would not try to carry his dog across the swift, deep river, especially if he thought he’d be carrying a heavy chest of gold on the way back. So he beached the raft, left his dog in a safe place and with his wetsuit on, carrying his pack and gear, tried to wade across the river. He probably didn’t make it. The deep swift current would have easily swept him downstream.

    He probably intended to only search that one first day. Apparently there was no tent/sleeping bag/provisions for an overnight trip. And he certainly wouldn’t have carried those things either up the east slope or across the river.

    He could have rented a car and had it driven to a pickup location at the lake. Or, if he had a motorcycle and his car was actually a pickup truck he could have dropped the motorcycle at the lake area.

    Also, he could have just planned on calling someone to come pick him up once he got to the lake. There are homes just below the lake.

    The lake is only another 9 miles beyond where his raft was found — so the raft was about half way to the lake — an easy float trip.

    I think the search should concentrate along the river below where the raft was found….. on the sandbars, river bends, and places where the river current slows down…..not just at the lake.

    It’s heart wrenching to have something like this happen. I really hope there can be closure on the search in a short time. All you searchers be safe!

    • It’s hard to process those thoughts John but I also believe there is a strong possibility he was swept downstream by strong cold currents into brush. Did the SAR team already search the banks or only the lake?

  7. Please take a hundred pics.
    At his landing look at his boat for damage.
    Take wide shots and tight shots.
    Is it a campsite?
    Does it look like he spent the night there?
    Did he get a fire started?
    Look at where he might have landed. Are there drag marks or footprints in the soft mud?

    In one of the photos that he sent in September it looks like he is wearing chest waders. Chest waders can kill you if you get submerged. They fill with water and hold you under.

    When you get to his car take photos through the glass of everything…wide shots and details. Are his waders in the car? Is there open food in the car? Look closely at the map on his dash for notes or marks he might have placed on it.
    Can you see any luggage? If not is there a hotel key laying around. Can you figure out where he was staying and where he may have left his computer…assuming that he has one..

    Take pics of everything.
    Memory plays tricks.
    Photos hold clues…

    Thanks everyone..
    Good luck

    • Dal, I noticed the ‘chest wader’ pic too and thought the same thing, it’s not the same as a wet suit. Also, look for a receipt of where he purchased the raft, see if he talked to any clerks about what he was doing/going did he have anyone with him at that point and did they purchase more than one raft? Wondering if he emailed FF with his potential solve and if so can this info be shared with SAR.

    • Hello Dal. I asked Linda if she knew if he stayed somewhere in New Mexico or went straight through from Broomfield. This is her reply on Search Update:

      Linda Bilyeu on January 18, 2016 at 10:53 am said:

      ‘He stayed at the Motel 6 in Santa Fe. Checked out on the 3rd, most likely slept in his car that evening. Went down river on the 4th.’

      I’m not sure if Randy spoke to anyone there; but he might have.

  8. As a former search and rescue member, and a firefighter emt, my thoughts go out to all those involved. I wish I could be there to help. be careful.

  9. while searching google map frijoles falls stood out, I wonder if he has a gps or a map and compass? Seeing he left a map taped to his car’s dash. This will require some good tracking skills. Watch for broken branches, sticks on the trail.
    has anyone questioned the sporting goods clerk if Randy bought a backpack and food etc? Is there any open cans ( dog food or others ) near the raft?

    Best wishes and prayers

  10. Another, less optimistic theory.
    This is based on the map of the Frijoles Canyon seen on Randy’s dash and the chest waders he photographed himself wearing.

    He was headed for the Frijoles Canyon area and he made it. I still don’t understand how he planned to get back to his car but that doesn’t matter at this point.

    He has a daypack with some food and water and he has Leo. He wears his chest waders because he knows there are some shallow spots and he might have to get out and pull the raft. The chest waders keep your feet dry and have some thermal quality that helps you stay warmer.

    He gets to Frijoles Canyon and for whatever reason passes it by..
    Goes another thousand feet past the canyon..maybe he isn’t certain it’s Frijoles Canyon. Maybe he doesn’t know precisely where he is when he passes it. Anyway, he heads for the next good place to pull out and lands.

    Unfortunately, he is on the opposite side of the river from Frijoles. Maybe the other side is not a good landing site. So he pulls the raft up to some brush where it’s more or less hidden from view of folks floating the river.

    He puts on his daypack, picks up his buddy Leo and starts walking across the river. No problem because the river is low and not running hard at this time of year. But he steps in a 7 ft hole in the river. His waders fill with water. He lets go of Leo. Leo swims to shore. Randy sinks to the bottom of the hole because his waders flood and drowns.

    Leo stays there because that’s the last place he’s seen his buddy Randy.

    This is a terrible outcome and I hope it’s not what happened but it is possible. So someone needs to look for deep holes in that river between the boat landing and Frijoles Canyon.

    Look for what appears to be a good place to cross. A place Randy might figure looks safe. See if there is a hole there.

    People often get trapped in holes like this. They end up getting pushed out in the spring when melt turns the river into a fast moving river again.

    • He could have wandered off to get help, tired from walking, crawled back in a cave. Fell asleep and never woke up—hypothermia. Wet from river rafting, temps below freezing at night.

    • Tragically and unfortunately this sounds about right Dal but why not bring the raft across with you or even push in front of you as a flotation…..Hey, by the way, where’s Goofy been? Haven’t seen him on here in weeks?

      • I’m still here Cholly, thanks for asking.

        I’ve been hoping for a good outcome and still am, but I think Dal may have nailed what happened. I’ve said many times here, out in the wilderness the line between a wonderful day and absolute disaster is very thin.

    • Exactly. As a gold prospector, I have worn chest waders into swift waters (rivers) many times and once, and only once, did they start to fill, I stepped into a hole and as they were filling I could feel myself losing my footing and being pushed by the current. Not a good place to be. I would concentrate the search downstream from where his raft was found.

    • I dont want to say your right but I told my wife looking at the picture of leo standing at the edge of the water that I believed that Randys there or close in the water. Thats why Leo wouldnt leave the area. The love of Leos life was last seen there and he’s waiting for Randy to come back.
      Tearing up. Old Marines do cry. Gotta go.

    • I worked for some years wading rivers to measure them; so I waded proscribed cross-sections that were not selected for “easily-wadable”. Just wadable if you knew what you were doing. I learned the hard lessons alone. I learned the hard way about “slippery”, and just how deep you dare go in waders. I made one measurement with about 1/4″ freeboard on the chest waders; very calm steady flow. Safe, I thought. But one sneeze would have been my end, as the river deepened downstream. A few drips down my chest and I wised up. If you are wise and in the river….

      Searchers. Think Safety. Turn back if you MIGHT be lacking resources. Or in “over your head”.

      I wish Forrest would come out and say “It is highly unlikely Indulgence is submerged.” Or something to that effect. Please note the “I wish” part

    • Dal, unfortunately I agree with you. There were many times that I fell in a hole crossing water during my searches. A tall hiker (pole) is a must when traversing murky unknown water. Most fly fishermen use them when wading, and don’t forget the one on the cover of TOTC.
      I have a bad feeling, Randy found a deep hole, probing could have prevented that, but you know what they say about hindsight.
      My prayers go out to Leo and family.
      I hope everyone stays safe this winter and uses common sense.

      God Bless the rescuers with diligence and determination, God protect Randy and bring him home to all of us.

  11. For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t focus too heavily on Frijoles Canyon and miss any opportunities to check the east side more thoroughly, or other areas up and down stream.

    The neatly stacked paddles and air pump, and the fact that they were neatly stacked approximately nine miles from the presumed put in, the car, suggests that Randy did not accidentally end up on the east side. He would have successfully navigated several difficult areas of the Rio Grande. All physical evidence suggest intention on his part to be on the east side. The west side looks very difficult to accidentally miss.

    We are assuming he was trying to *get* somewhere. He could just as well be *leaving* somewhere much further upstream.

    The partially deflated raft (rafts are composed of several air tubes and the outer tube seems to have had a leak), and the air pump, could suggest Randy stopped here because the raft was becoming less likely to make a longer journey.

    The absence of any other equipment, including even a bag to hold food and water, suggests Randy left on foot somewhere.

    In short, the fact that the raft happened to be here isn’t very suggestive of much. Please keep a broader search in mind.

  12. My thoughts and prayers go out ot the searchers/rescuers and Randy’s family during this time of not knowing what’s what. I’m sitting in MN (where it’s -12 F this morning) but if I lived closer, I would be volunteering to search as well. Good luck to all and be safe out there.

  13. Wish I could be there to help search! Good luck to you all and think smart! The thing that strikes me as the most strange or out of place was the fact that Leo was “left” there by himself with the raft. I don’t know the area so that’s all the info I can give. I will be praying for all of you! Be safe!

  14. What a great group of people. I hope and pray that the searchers will have a safe day. Bring Randy back. My goodness there is no telling what happened.

  15. To my fellow Searches, I am proud of all of you that are able to step up to the plate and help in finding one of our own. To the family of Randy, I hope you know what a great bunch of people these searchers are and know they will do their best to locate Randy for you, because they do this with heart and will make sure no stone is left unturned. God Bless all of you. Bur

  16. Good Morning Everyone.

    Before we venture out on our task today, I wanted to take a moment and thank everyone here. I have received more help than I could have ever imagined. I have read every single comment and theory here, and have thought long and deliberated hard about where to look for Randy.

    You are all amazing people. This is a more humbling experience than you can imagine.

    I know many of you wish you could help, but are too far away. If we do find Randy, he will need to go home to his family., and that will not be cheap. You can donate to the GoFundMe page for his daughters and grandchildren here:

    Thank you all so much for the tips, advice, maps, and theories. I hope for the safe return of everyone in my group today, and I hope we can bring Randy home.

    Also, I know you all want to know where we are searching. We are focusing our efforts on the east side of the river, neat Montesso peak, above where his raft was found. A small team will also go try to find a way into Frijoles canyon, as this is one of the most likely spots that he could have gone, but not very easy to access.

    I will try to post an update this evening. Stay warm and safe everyone.


      • Iron I think this is a very plausible theory. Are there any plans to search Arroyo with a drone? Does anyone in the party have a search drone? Honestly I would be willing to acquire and fedex a drone to Sacha if that would be helpful. There are several points along the south side of Arroyo that might have been interpreted as the blaze and may have been a point of interest.

  17. Apologies I just received this (9 AM TX Time) so cannot be there. All My Best to the search teams. If there is another planned search and you need additional bodies let me know ..


  18. Stay safe everyone , we want you all back with us when this is over. I applaud you for your effort to help Randy’s family. A donation is all most of us can do to help. Let’s work on that .

  19. Just got off the phone with Eugene. He has pics of inside the car and this is what he sees(below). We’re trying to get a copy of the picture that the ex girlfriend was reported to have gotten from Randy with him and Leo ready to go down the river. If anyone can use their skills to try and get it, please let me know so I can get it to them. They want to be able to know what he was wearing.

    target bag
    raft box
    sleeping bag
    dog toy
    racket ball stuff
    map on dash opened up to frijoles with paper plate under it.
    lunch with sandwich out so seems he was planning on being back that day
    car scratched up on outside so probably was going through brush

  20. Wow so good to see all of the effort going into finding Randy. We can all take comfort in the fact that there are some really strong people involved in the chase. That includes Randy. There is a good chance that he could survive for days or be actively trying to hike to safety. The dog being left alone is indeed troubling, has anyone thought to use the dog to help search? Also when in danger it is good to leave a directional indicator, maybe an arrow in the dirt or the paddles pointing in the direction of travel, check for a trail of broken twigs all pointing the same way. Please be safe out there looking for him this is rugged terrain and due to recent forest fires and severe flash flooding it is highly unstable as well. Bring him back safe and yourselves too.

  21. How difficult is it to wade across to Frijole from the east?

    Now knowing where the boat was found, I think Frijole Canyon the less likely place he aimed for. The flow of water from the north should have pushed his raft toward the north side of the Frijole Delta .. Does anyone know how the Rio is flowing? Is it slow or fast? Too fast to get to shore? From the satellite photos, the water here appears to be deeper ..

    The Frijole Delta appears to be wide and easy to land on, just about anywhere. If his intention was Frijole Canyon, I would think he would have aimed for the north end, and even if he missed it, should have had plenty of time and opportunity to try and guide the raft to it and beach before he passed the south end of the delta, unless the Rio is swift in that area. if it is, then I see a shallow on the east side where he could have beached and then worked his way onto the east-side landing. If he tried to cross to Frijole Canyon, and didn’t make it, then he’s probably down stream ..

    Do a lot of people float the Rio in January? It seems highly unlikely and I doubt he was concerned about anyone finding his “hiding” spot and following him, at least in this time of year. I can see the possibility of trying to throw someone off the scent, and then crossing the river, but that scenario seems less implausible then looking on the east side. I think the more likely scenario is he is on the east side, either searching for the treasure or headed for his car after breaking a paddle – though leaving his dog behind makes no sense – I take my dog and she climbs a lot better than I do ..

    The east landing appears to be intentional. A good wide beachhead with possible trail access to the top. If the east side is climbable, from where he beached, I would search the area immediately surrounding that east landing for any signs of traffic, including the river bottom, if possible ..

    I would have one team search the north canyon trail and have a second team search the south canyon trail, farther away from the raft. Meet at the top, discuss any findings, then split into THREE teams. Team 1 explores along the Canyon edge to the Water Tank (water high) which is straight across the Rio from White Rock, then from the Water Tank to Montoso Peak. Team 2 searches toward, not Montoso Peak, but Cerro Micho. Then both teams converge toward TWIN HILLS – there are several references in the books to TWINS. Team 3 searches its way toward Colorado Peak (possibly an interpretation of HOB) .. If nothing, and there is still daylight, I would then search in the direction of the car and return a second day of needed ..

    I would still have a team search Frijole Canyon, just in case ..


  22. Sacha, or anybody searching Randy…….if Google has updated their maps then someone needs to look around this area……there are footprints going across a sandbar just south of where Randy’s raft was found…they look like human tracks….I think it needs to be checked out….here are the coordinates….

    35.676263 N

    -106.311711 W

    My prayers are with all of you……Focused

    • wow! You’re right…if you look just further SE on that sandbar you’ll see a hint of more …

      35.675523, -106.309947

      Could it be he went down THAT far on foot?

      There are also foot prints at the following locations…all on the East side and skirting back in the direction of the Raft….

      35.685208, -106.310331


      multiple paths here as if someone was looking for something…

      35.702769, -106.288742

      and a faint set here….

      35.702769, -106.288742

      and another set here….

      35.707862, -106.289349

      But in the end, I believe those are fishermen’s footsteps….take a look here on the WEST side of the river….

      35.717300, -106.286679
      as well as here…
      35.704941, -106.290361

      But incredible find Focused…didn’t figure these maps were that up to date.

    • There’s a correction on the post that says, “Linda just said that these photos were taken December 24th.”

      If so, he was already somewhat familiar with the area and knew his way in and out.

      • MartinS, Stephanie, Inthechase… In the 3 photos Stephanie posted, it appears that in 2 photos Randy is on the East side looking across the River at Frijoles Canyon, but in the selfie it appears that he is on the West side of the river. If that’s correct then in December he WAS crossing back and forth over the river to search both sides. He may have been comfortable wading it.

        Does anyone from NM area know for certain if the selfie in inside of Frijoles looking East?

  23. Could someone please go search Randy’s car?

    Discussed this with my husband (cop with 28 years experience/various states & agencies). The chances that you will be charged with anything is slim/none. There has to be a complainant (Randy). Also, you cannot charge someone with a misdemeanor without a warrant and there’s little chance of that (and there still wouldn’t be a complainant so charges would be dropped). Also, the fine if you were ever convicted would be maybe $100. I’ll pay the $100. Then there’s the negative press if they charge someone with breaking into a car to try to save a life. There are likely important clues in the car and resources are being wasted without them. I’d do it if I wasn’t 1200 miles away.

    Find someone with a slimjim or call a tow truck (they’ll have one) or AAA. If that doesn’t work, just break a window.

    Kevin said if you are still nervous, call SFPD (or whichever jurisdiction this is) and ask what they would do if you broke in and were caught.

    One caveat: is the car on federal land? If so, it might be a different story.

    One more thing: He said that it’s BS that the cops couldn’t search the car without a warrant. There’s an exception for exigent circumstances.

    All of this is my (and his) HO, of course.

    • Not a good idea Sharman.
      What if is considered a crime scene? What if there was foul play? What if there is evidence from the person who committed the crime in the vehicle? All that evidence would probably inadmissible in court do to the contamination of evidence. They should have a search warrant soon if they don’t already have one.

      • Good point. I assume if it was a known crime scene there would be crime scene tape around it or some effort to protect it. On the other hand, it may turn out to be a crime scene later…At this point, I’d be more concerned about finding Randy than prosecuting later but that’s just me.

      • Sorry Kat, sometimes a comment gets thrown into moderation for a reason unbeknownst to me. I approved your other comment then deleted it because they were redundant. It shouldn’t happen again, but I’ll keep an eye out.

  24. Just some thoughts that bug me:

    His raft was found 9 miles from where he put in.

    For a day trip, that’s a long way to hike back over uneven terrain for a man who might not be in top physical shape. I don’t think he meant to float that far down. He may have grown tired from trying to guide the raft, and the raft took him farther than he intended.

    If he left the sandwich open in the car, I don’t think he intended to float very far at all. It seems like he was planning on being back fairly soon.

    If he left a map in the car, he may not have had one on his person. If he did, it may have gotten wet…

    If Dal’s scenario of the waders filling with water isn’t right (unfortunately, it could be), I would think he would have hiked in the direction he came from. I wonder if he realized just how far he had drifted from his car.

    Dal, do you think Crayton’s technology would be of use in the river around where the raft was found? I know Crayton has used his equipment to recover bodies underwater, but am not sure if it would work here?

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