WhiteBeard and SpongDog…

As you may have heard. Randy Bilyeu is missing in New Mexico. Randy is an avid searcher and attended the Gaspard Book Signing event last fall at the LaFonda Hotel in Santa Fe. Many of us had the opportunity to meet Randy and his dog Leo at that event. Randy referred to themselves as Whitebeard and Spongdog.

This morning (January 16th, 2016) Search and Rescue teams are out looking for Randy after he went missing during his most recent search in New Mexico. His dog Leo, his raft and his car were found along the Rio Grande. Forrest, who met Randy and Leo sent this note:

My heart reaches out to Randy and hopes he will be found safe. He came to my book signing at the La Fonda Hotel, and was all smiles. I remember petting his little dog and feeding him a treat. Shiloh is at Cochiti Lake looking around, and I am heading out Buckman Road to the river, just to get a feel.  I don’t know what else to say, except that my hope is that Randy will soon be reunited with his little dog. f

Forrest Fenn Book Signing and after Party

Here is a note and photos Randy sent along last fall:

Dal and Goofy-

With the passing of another Labor Day… I wanted to send you guys some
photo’s of my 14 “labor’s of love” adventures with my dog, Leo. Please feel
free to post any of these pictures on your blog if you think other searchers
will enjoy a laugh and maybe benefit from them. I am keeping my current and
favorite search a secret between me, Forrest and my dog.

Our claim to “Fenn Fame” is from being the recipient of Scrapbook # 61.
I sent Forrest a letter around Easter of April 2014 explaining to him my theory
as a deep thinking/logical treasure hunter. This is my first entry to any of the
Fenn blogs because I was afraid of accidently giving out some clues. I guess
Forrest also considers writing “old school” letters a way of whispering?

Happy hunting everybody and I really hope that someone soon finds Forrest’s chest of Gold… but everyone knows that the real treasure is the journey of life itself and enjoying nature.

P.S. Forrest’s dog Tesuque has some real competition this year. Lol

Randy and Leo Bilyeu
WhiteBeard and SpongDog

Below are the pics Randy sent with that note:

20140603_200814 20140604_102252 20140605_081200 20140605_094403 20140606_182655 20140607_184209 20140918_155858 20141006_092308 IMAG0778 IMAG0788 IMAG0914 IMAG0918 Leos Rocky Mtn. Adventure 026 Leos Rocky Mtn. Adventure 036 Leos Rocky Mtn. Adventure 059 Leos Rocky Mtn. Adventure 061 Leos Rocky Mtn. Adventure 064 Leos Rocky Mtn. Adventure 070 Leos Rocky Mtn. Adventure 078 Leos Rocky Mtn. Adventure 079 Moms Funeral and NM CO 106 Moms Funeral and NM CO 151 Moms Funeral and NM CO 211 Moms Funeral and NM CO 529 Moms Funeral and NM CO 552

Here is a link to the story in the Santa Fe New Mexican last night about Randy being missing:



Here are a few other news stories about the search:

Broomfield Man Missing While Treasure Hunting In New Mexico




Here is a pic of a search and rescue individual feeding Leo near the Rio Grande. The pic was submitted by Inthechaseto. You can see Randy’s boat in the background. I don’t know any more about this photo. You can click to enlarge it.



Here is an Update from the afternoon of January 17th, from Forrest.




227 thoughts on “WhiteBeard and SpongDog…

  1. I am trying to get an airplane so Shiloh and I can join in the search. The weather is good and it’s 34 degrees at my house. If we spot him we can drop warm clothes, a phone, matches, and some food. And a note saying Leo is safe and warm. That should make him feel better. Wish I could do more. f

    • You definitely can’t control all us crazy searchers Forrest, but it means a lot that you care enough to participate in the search for Randy and that you know his first question will be about Leo if it is a lucky search. Thanks so much for everything you do for us… Crossing my fingers for a happy reunion!

    • You and Shiloh are doing more than one could ask for. Praying for a successful search. Much thanks to you and Dal for keeping us informed.

    • Don’t think for a second it is your fault. We all make our own decisions in life & sometimes those decisions can be life threatening. We all weigh out the differences & then go from there.

      In the end, it is our responsibility to be accountable for the decisions we make in life.

      • Dal can you send me the photos above in full detail. Please I thought I saw something but I cant blow up the pic from the photo you have posted here. The pictures of the Pick up of Leo and the raft photos. There are three that I am aware of . Are there more of the day Leo was picked up. You have my email I would like to review them if possible. Thank you Dal also what happened to the Video of the flight with Forrest will we have access to this footage. If so please send anything you can. I have healing time on my hands this may be for a reason. I can take time to review material if you can get it to me. Have a great day always JB and Titan

    • Ultimately, can’t protect us from our selves. We all hope to hear positive news soon. Good luck to all those searching and lending support.


    • Forrest, I can be in SF by sun up if you need or want another set of eyes or boots on the ground for support. I’m a great co-pilot/spotter ..

      • Thank you Brad. I have received 26 emails such as yours. People standing in line wanting to assist. They all say, “Just tell me what to do.” Some overachieving girls, serious searchers all, are standing by with hot drinks and finger foods for the professional rescue people.

        This whole Randy incident emphasizes once again that we as Americans are full of compassion and ready hands when the call for help goes out. It makes me so proud to be among you. And I want to thank Dal and Goofy for providing the avenue on which we march to get there.

        • Well, I’ve been involved in two search and rescues for downed airplanes, 1 military air-show disaster and several natural disasters, in multiple states, so I know how stressful the situation can be for searchers and hot-coco-servers alike. All my best to the crew ..

        • By the why, Forrest, I forgot to thank you, from the bottom of my well, for your many kind words yesterday – to everyone involved, and to all those waiting on the edge ..

          Your mountainous support of all the professional searchers, risking their lives, and their frontline team of dedicated guys and girls aiding this great endeavor over the safety and security of Randy, and of all the other treasure hunters, even when they get themselves into trouble, is encouraging to the whole idea of Community within a well-landed society ..

          This really is a great country, which you have had a grand part in defending, and rebuilding, out of the red-faced ashes of conflict, toward a more peaceful harmony with Nature and the bull wisdom of humanity’s slow-wind move toward a better conservancy of our ranches, rocks, rivers and bushes ..

          The willingness of everyone, whether few or many who follow your lead, to step up to the trail and help those in need, even in the midst of this great divide over the direction of our future, and the willingness to just leave each other alone, in Peace, is, in my opinion, a gold rubber stamp to your Honor, both as a great American, and an even greater global human ..


    • So sorry to hear about Randy. thank you Forrest for putting your resources to work in the effort to find Randy. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

    • Thank you Forest. It means so much that you are wiilling to participate in the search for Randy. I would give it all back (if I had the TC) to make sure this man could love his dog again. I’m in IL. but my heart is with Randy in hopes that he is well and safe just needs help to get back. God watch over Randy first then please watch over all, that are looking for Randy. In your Son’s Name AMEN.

    • I would think it would be a good idea to take Leo back out there to look for him. He can’t talk but he can sure show someone where to go… This is so sad I really really hope they find him OK…

      • I agree with Spallies, your bestfriend is likely to know where you were last. Wish I could be there to help. We are waiting for you to home come Randy to tell us your stories!

  2. It would help to know which side of the river his boat was found on. If it was anchored or drifted there. My personal opinion is that he was headed to the bottom of Frijoles Canyon. But it is also possible that he stopped at one of the little islands and sandbars, and lost his boat.

    • Hello Michael. I don’t know much about New Mexico. What is on the left side of the river, going the same direction as the river flows? I’ve got a feeling this is where the raft and Randy’s dog was found. This is my opinion.

    • IMO, he did not plan on a long hike back to his car. He probably was headed to the island just south of Buckman. He must have lost his boat. Since it is on the west side of river he would not have been able to swim back.
      The best I can hope is that he stayed put. But, he might be hiking up to White Rock.

  3. Hoping for the best outcome.
    If he’s not going to make it, at least he made it doing what he loved to do.
    That’s the way I would want it.
    That’s all you could ask for.

  4. My thoughts go out to his family and his canine friend, that nature may return him unharmed.

  5. Forrest,

    It’s an especially warm and wonderful thing reading of your concerns regarding Leo.

    An animal “shelter” will not bring any level of relief to a grieving and lost little soul requiring kindness and such a unique form of…understanding.

    • I am a volunteer at the animal shelter where Leo is. It is a great shelter with many loving volunteers. I did ask if we could take Leo into our home until Randy is found. We are waiting to hear.

      Protection and safety to Randy and all those searching for him.

        • Dear Dal heard abt Randy and am also worried. Thought of some ideas and emailed Forrest. Did some searching online like looked up. Rio Grande River and Diablo Canyon. Also looked up Solar Cave Diablo Canyon one site had a man names Dave that would take you on a hike pets invited only with leash and food and drink for them or they can’t go maybe that’s why the dog was there, it was at Railrunner Park. Also searched *Buckman Road New Mex near Rio distance to Diablo Canyon Grande. The search found Ca ja Del RIO-WIKIPEDIA, the free encyclopedia… It says access is through NM Highway 599 Santa Fe Co Road 62 and Forest…6.1 Wild Horses 6.2 Diablo Canyon ***6.3 Cana Trails 6.4 Rio Grande Trail… An Ephemeral Stream that flows (Northward) into the Rio Grande near Beckham…* could this be the area he intended to go? Will stop sending emails IN’ve already sent Forrest two since last night about 30 minutes ago found this. Hope Randy is found safe and alright very soon. Virginia Bennett

      • It’s heartwarming learning of the compassion being shown to Leo. Hopefully, you’ll get approval to share your home with him very…. soon. (Having a personal piece of clothing with the ‘scent’ of their companion on it… will quite often help ease their feelings of sorrow and loneliness). You’re a true gift, moonshadow.

        May Randy personally thank you as well.

      • Moonshadow, can we buy gifts through the shelter for Little Leo? Treats, extra blankie and warm clothes. Where can we donate for him?

        • I will visit him tomorrow and let you know what is happening. I am hoping to Bring him home. There are rules, but I will be sure to bring him a blanket and give him hugs and treats.

          • Moonshadow –

            You can tell them – sometimes in unusual happenings – rules can be broken…..I hope you get to take him home. I’m sure everyone here is rooting for that to happen. Is there a web site or e-mail where we can write? It’s great to have you watching little Leo – and keeping us informed. Thank you !

          • Moonshadow, i’m happy that you will be helping Little Leo. I was able to locate Santa Fe Shelter’s donation page and i made a donation for the littke giuy. I wanted to contribute some how and this was all that i could think of. Maybe others would want to do the same….

  6. I believe this is my first post on this blog, but I wanted to spread my wishes for Randy’s well being and the best outcome. From the pics I’d say he was dedicated and loved doing what he was doing. I’m glad Leo is ok, and I only hope Randy is ok too; I’d be out there searching for him too if I could. All the best.


  7. Randy is definitely in our prayers…he was last heard from over 10 days ago, Jan 4th. It seems unlikely he could still be alive, but we won’t give up until he is found alive or his body recovered. Sacha is currently asking Search and Rescue if we TTOTC searchers who live close can help with the search. We’ve been in contact with Forrest who told us to wait for their reply. He mentioned that it’s better for them as a trained organization to search for one person, not 50. Either Sacha, Forrest, or I will post an update as soon as we know something.

  8. Dear Leo, aka spongdog…..hang in there little one, try not to worry because there are a lot of good people looking for your Randy. Everyone is wishing for his safe return.

  9. My thoughts and prayers go out to Randy’s loved ones, and a special prayer goes out to little Leo…may he again be united with HIS best friend. Just lost MY best friend of 16 1/2 years…I know how Leo feels.

  10. My thought and prayers are with Randy. Really hoping he is holed up somewhere and will be found.

  11. I can be in Santa Fe, or wherever needed, in 10 hours if you need more help with the search efforts ..

  12. Our life experiences guide our decisions and Randy made his own–confident in his ability to succeed. We cannot deny him his personal choice.

    The wilderness is impersonal and unforgiving. With each adventure, we appreciate her more and better understand our own ignorance. The thrill is scant in absolute security.

    At nearly the same age as WhiteBeard, I would NEVER want Forrest to ever feel the slightest responsibility for my decisions. I believe Randy would agree and I pray we hear his own affirmation soon.

  13. I just read about Randy being lost. My prayers and thoughts are with him and his family. I think Spallies suggestion to take Leo back out to help find him is very helpful. I hope he is found safe and sound soon.

  14. Sending out prayers, guidance, and hope!
    Stay strong Randy, they will find you soon.

  15. I’m sorry to hear this news. Just a guy out, chasing his dreams. My prayers to his family.

  16. I pray that Randy is found soon. Winter is the worst time to be out alone in nature. I wish I was there to help search for him.

  17. Holding Randy in thought and Prayer, not giving up on hopes he’ll be found alive. Leave room for the Miracle.

  18. Thanks for sharing the story, Dal, and Forrest, too. Add my thoughts and prayers for Randy to the wealth of compassion expressed by all on this thread.

  19. I’m wishing Randy a safe return and am sad to hear that he is missing. I will keep my fingers crossed for him.

  20. At the la fonda Randy was so excited to meet Forrest and be a part of the group. He expressed his hopes of finding the chest and making his life better. He was sweet and leo was adorable as they hung out and listened to everyones theories and search areas. Please everyone, this treasure is worthless if you are not safe. Forrest would never hide it somewhere that dangerous/difficult to retrieve. All we can do now is hope and pray and offer any help that would make a difference. We are with you Randy.

    • It could be the safest place even a 5 year old could manage in the summer. In the winter Icy roads icy rocks and icy rivers makes a bad combination . I hope Randy was smart enough to take some water proof matches or some way to start a fire. Hopefully he has some winter survival skills and know that tree sap or pine pitch will burn just like fuel on top of the snow to start a fire. Temperature loss of the body is often fatal when hypothermia sets in during cold nights where the temperature drops drastically . Hope all turns out on a positive note.

  21. I wish I lived closer, so I could go and search for Randy. I feel bad for his dog and his family. I hope the best and God Bless him and You all. Praying….
    Lou Lee, chased by Bears and thankful I got away.

  22. Forrest: I’m sure you and the Searchers already thought of this, but I did a quick study of the area ..

    Depending on where exactly the boat was located (I don’t think he would be downstream of it) the most logical place that I can think of for Randy to be (at least where I would have looked), based on the poem, is somewhere in Frijoles Canyon, Bandolier – 10 miles south, on the Rio Grande, is the Cochiti Lake Dam (wwwh), Frijole Canyon would then the (put in), at the top of Frijole Canyon is a park ranger visitor center and several ancient cliff dwellings, both of which could be (home of brown), part way up Frijole Canyon is Upper Frijoles Water Falls (no place meek, end ever drawing nigh, no paddle, water high), from there, the blaze is unknown .. also, measuring from Buckman Road, Frijole Canyon is approx. 10 miles (depending on whether you measure water miles or Crow miles) ..

    Second alternate is Alamo Canyon, about four miles back toward Cochiti Dam, or possibly the Canyon just past Alamo that leads to “painted cave” (on Google Earth) ..

    If the road to the Visitor Center is closed, he may be trying to work his way to someplace either above the Upper Frijole Water Falls or above the visitor center, both of which would be much closer to reach from Route 4 ..

    Just North of Frijole Canyon, on the Rio Grande, is a Canyon that leads up towards VLBA and the NARO Radio Telescopes (Heavy Load?) – the canyon runs very close to a narrow paved road, where a narrow trail leads from the road to the Canyon, about halfway between VLBA/NARO and Route 4 – you have to zoom in very close to find it – he may have thought this is where you parked and entered at to hide the treasure ..

    If he’s on the east side of the river, then my guess would be the Water Tank across from White Rock Overlook (Water Nigh), or the Canyon (across from Alamo Canyon) that works its way toward Colorado Peak (HOB) ..

    I don’t know the translation of Montoso or Cerro Micho ..

    My Penny’s Worth –


    • The santa fe search and rescue has a Facebook page that anyone can posts suggestions on. Brad, can you post your idea there?

      • Sorry Moon I just saw this post .. I will post it, but I’m sure it’s already been disseminated to them or thought about as a possibility – I’ve worked with SAR before and they are usually a very smart crowd – of course, it is all dependent on exactly where the boat was found ..

    • Brad,

      Ironically my family and I were in this exact area (today) that you are talking about…. It is still covered with snow and quite muddy….. Slightly unsafe, which is why we ceased our search..

      He won’t be able to get to the bandolier visitors station from the rio, since the floods detroyed the frijoles canyon (we tried)…

      However if he is in that area the trails leading from Rt. 4 to the rio (there’s only one that goes all the way down) may be worth looking into, if they can be found… It would be at gate 4a/4b and then veer off to ancho canyon trail down to the rio….
      maybe he was lucky to find them and tried getting out of the rio area


      • Victoria:

        Thank you. You probably know much more of the area than I do. I have not yet searched this area in person (other than on Google) and was unaware of Frijole Canyon being blocked – although, sometimes, people still try if they believe the reward is greater than the risk – so, he may still have tried to get through that way ..

        The newspaper stated that his boat was found 9 miles from Buckner Road. But that could have been an estimate and it may been found in any of a half-dozen landings. I did do a more detailed measurement and Frijole Canyon is 9 water miles south of Buckner Road (it is exactly 10 water miles north of Cochiti Dam, if that is what he used for wwwh). Alamo Canyon is 13 miles south of Buckner Road and 6 miles north of the Dam. There is also a canyon North of Alamo that leads toward the Visitor Center, so he may have tried that way, or the VLBA canyon, at about 8.5 miles from Buckner, to get above Frijole Falls ..

        I’m sure the Searchers studied the landing for footprints or broken branches or mashed down grasses, which are visible in the photo of the boat ..

        Not being on scene or knowing what the Searchers know, my ideas are just that – ideas that may not hold water. If they hinder the search, I hope they ignore them. If they help, I hope they prove to be good ..


    • Forgive me for being straight forward, but if Randy is in the water without his boat, he will be down stream. Likely stuck in debris in the water. He’s been out a long time for as cold as it is. I’ve seen people survive longer in terrible conditions. He will hold on for his dog if he can. He could be looking for his dog. taking the dog back is a great idea. and take trailing dogs with him. I’m not familiar with that river, but from experience searching other rivers, the search team is likely looking way down stream. In the future if someone doesn’t answer their phone, anyone can make the call to report someone over due and start a search. It doesn’t have to be a relative. the sooner some one makes that call the higher probability the lost person will be found alive. Don’t hesitate to make the call!!! If they walk out the next day.. all the better. My prayers with all concerned, this won’t be easy on the searchers.

      • I agree with you that he is down river if he fell in the water, either from the boat or slipped and fell into the water attempting to climb. Then, yes, he would have floated downstream and been unable to get back. My idea of him NOT being downriver is based on him landing the boat intentionally on a small beach-head, where he could tie it up and search inland on foot. The boat would then be at or near where he disembarked and his trail would lead at a 45 to 90 degrees angle into the brush or up a rock cliff. If the boat broke free, than the boat would be downstream of where he walked away from it, although the dog indicates the boat was found where he left it. If he fell out of the boat, I don’t think it would have been found with the dog. Although I still agree with you that he could have lost his footing from the slippery rock or ice ..

        Thanks for your honest appraisal of the situation,


  23. I remember meeting him in Sept at the signing. Sad to hear and I heard them say he has been missing 10 days doesn’t sound good. That freezing water will kill you in a minute. Don’t take chances with your life.

  24. My thoughts and prayers for Randy and his little dog Leo to be safely reunited.
    I wish all of us Thrill of the chase family could be there to help search but since that is not possible, lets all keep praying for him to be found safe.

  25. Thank you Forrest Fenn for helping to bring Randy back to his family! We are insane with worry. Randy’s and my daughters and granddaughters are very concerned and have faith for a positive outcome! Let’s do this! – Linda Bilyeu

    • Hi Linda Im also heading out from Colorado to assist in the search . Our families prayers are for you tonight . And with that said my heart weighs heavy for you and your family. This is the only way I can feel that Im doing something about it and not sit here waiting news. I have offered 500.00 dollars toward the search plane F was speaking about. I will do everything I can to help.

      My email is mikcd89@gmail.com

    • No. I am Elizabeth. I am wondering if you could call the santa fe animal shelter in the morning and see if they will release Leo to me. I will take good care of him until Randy is found. My name is Elizabeth Schultze. I will email dal my phone number to send on to you.

  26. Praying for Randy. May God guide the SAR to Randy and bring him home safe and well.

  27. Hi,
    I am one of 2 daughters of Randy Bilyeu. His passion for the past 2 years has been finding the treasure. He wanted to find it to help others and he loved the journey it took him on. We are praying that he will be found alive. He has 2 granddaughters that want to see him and love their poppop. I appreciate everyone’s support to find him and prayers. This is a very tough time on all of us and I pray I get to see my Dad again. I found it amazing that he wouldn’t get discouraged after not finding the treasure. He truly believed he would find it but really enjoyed the adventure. This is a lot to handle and I’m trying to keep faith that he will be ok.

        • Thank you for your response Carissa. I live in a neighboring town of your father’s and thought perhaps I could help give you support.

          • We appreciate you wanting to help the kids. I can’t really think of anything besides prayers and bringing him home.

          • Prayers will continue. Keep your head up and keep the faith. Although difficult, try to get some rest. If anything comes to mind, please let me know.

        • Carissa, I to live in central Florida too – Tampa area, and have been trying to keep up with this rescue hoping at sometime I will see that your Dad has turned up. Your father looks to be a strong man with the will to enjoy life and that kind of man will do his best to make sure he gets back to his family. Be strong and confident he is trying to get back to you, and know all of us searchers even this far away have him in our prayers. Bur

          • Wow, thank you! I appreciate all the support and prayers. My Dad would keep fighting to come back to us. I am praying…

        • Hi Linda,
          I also would like to extend my prayers, but further, if you or any of your family feel you need to be in New Mexico, I would be willing to pay for an airline ticket. I’m sure it must be excruciating being so far away. I also live on the east coast and just waiting for news is very hard because of the time difference.
          Stay strong and let me help if I can.

          • I would be be happy to share the cost of any airlines tickets as well. Dal knows how to get in touch with me.

          • Thank you very much for the offer! I’m not sure what we would be able to offer by being there, besides being in the way. We have faith in the rescue teams and we are so thankful for their hard work and perseverance. We might need help in getting Leo home to Orlando. We hope Randy too. Together and smiling.

          • Would be happy to help. My wife is a veterinarian and can also provide guidance on any health certificates needed for travel. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Randy, and family.

    • Stay strong Carissa, our prayers are here for you and your family too…. I am a living miracle myself, miracles do happen, even when it looks so grim…..keep your faith strong…..never give up hope…..take care Carissa ……

    • Carissa, my husband went missing on a search in 2014. I understand how the wait and not being near can be agonizing. The search and rescue people are wonderful people and Forrest is as well. I’m too far away to help as they are, but I’m a phone call away if you would like to talk to someone. Hang in there and I’ll email you my number if you like.

  28. ” Note To Randy ”

    We know you cannot hear us, our words to you are mute,

    We just want to tell you, our prayers are tuned to you.

    We are your fellow searchers, just like your next of kin,

    Our hearts can feel the troubles, that you have gotten in.

    Just like you, we chase our dreams, each and every friend,

    Though danger surely waits for us, round each and every bend.

    Some of us have met you, and some of us have not,

    But all of us admire you, and the courage that you’ve got.

    As I type these words to you, choppers roam the sky,

    Looking for our prayers below, standing by the rivers side.

    Leo he is doing fine, we thought you’d like to know,

    In Santa Fe he waits for you, with his special glow.

    We’d like to say a special prayer, to God upon the throne,

    For you our fellow searcher, to bring you safely home.

    So you and Leo can unite, I know you miss him too,

    Listen to your heart and hear, our words we say to you.

    ” Heavenly father up above, please listen to our prayers,

    Please bring Randy home to us, safe to those care.

    We his fellow searchers, see us within this man

    If it’s your will, please help him, thank you and Amen”

    Together we will stand for you, together in our space,

    Waiting to see your grey beard, you wear upon your face.

    Forrest too is searching, along with many men,

    Searching for your miracle, along the Rio Grande…………

    By : Focused

    Dal I know this is not the poetry page, but I thought I needed

    To put it here. You can move it if you want to..k

    ” Randy, from me and all your fellow searchers………our prayers are
    with ya… “

  29. My prayers are with Randy and his family as well. I pray Divine guidance for the search and rescue team to quickly locate him in good condition and reunite him with Leo.

  30. I pray Randy and Leo are reunited very soon !! Thank you to all the search and rescue team! And to Forrest and Shiloh !

  31. I just want to add my prayers that Randy is brought home safe and sound. I have been reading the outpouring of compassion & concern here, and it’s a wonderful group of people that have bonded here through this shared adventure. Praying for hope & reassurance for Randy’s family.

  32. thank you to all of you- sincerely hearted, adventurous, generous spirits. stay strong, little leo.

  33. Michael,
    I would guess the same thing. I spent some time this evening thinking about where he parked vs potential hunt destination, especially if he pin-pointed a spot. I am making several assumptions but this is what i came up as well. Based on vehicle location and having raft, he “put in” on the Rio Grande at end of Old Buckman Rd.

    There appears to be a vehicle trail that accesses not far where he would tentatively end up if just crossing only (to the Sandia Canyon area) from east to west bank in immediate fashion, so no need to cross over there with better/easier access already existing. But where else would one want to go to in the raft such that he would be able to complete a search in one afternoon or day, for example. I assume he had no intention of sleeping out in the elements but instead sleeping back near or in his truck if needed to spend more time searching while in the area over the course of some days.

    It does not make too much sense to row 9 miles down river unless he wanted to stop at locations to search along the way and had a means to get a ride back to his vehicle with his raft. But it sounds to me he had a specific destination in mind. I too think that he tried to get to that “island” area (see google earth) less than half mile south from the put in location (where he parked).

    Another spot location that seems to be at a reasonable distance is about 1.1 mile down the river from the put in/boat launch. Look at google earth at 35° 49.428’N & 106° 10.553’W , there is a pic of “white rock cross” below white rock overlook, could be seemingly blaze like, and also very similar to one of Randy’s attached pictures to this post above of the white cross (an aerial marker of some type?). Anyway, I am of the opinion also that he may have banked up much further upstream and unfortunately the raft with Leo in it got away from him and floated downstream to where the raft and dog were found.
    I hate to speculate too much but please see it as just my way of trying to help through the eyes of another searcher.

    I am hoping that Randy will be found soon.


    • Steve ,

      Im heading there to help in the search . If you have solid ideas of where he could be in the area , then please shoot me emails of where and I will check tomorrow.
      Bad thing I haven’t slept at all and it is a five hour drive through rough areas to get in to New Mexico . But I will be safe and packed well for the trip. As I stated any info you may have please email it to me …


      • Mike, there is a “water canyon” about 4 miles down the rio grande from where Buckman Rd ends and where it sounds like Randy put in. It is on the west side of the canyon. I wonder if he was headed there for “water high”. One scenario may be that he lost his raft while getting on to shore there and may be in the area. I agree with other commenters here that he would likely be well upstream from where they found Leo and his raft if he ended up getting separated while disembarking.

    • Consider that maybe those vehicle trails from the White Rock side of the river are somewhat inaccessible this time of year or closed plus access to the canyons dropping from White Rock are much easier to access and actually climb up from the river so thus he went on raft to access the west bank. I was originally looking at the northern “white rock overlook” as mentioned above. Maybe he had interest in where the Mortindad Canyon (mortality canyon) and Canada del Buey (~ox droveway) came together. There is a pic of a waterfall on google earth. Also there is view from those canyons to see the “Croc Rock” (Otowi peak) across the way back to the northeast.

      Maybe Randy is in process of making way up to White Rock, and trail found difficult, huge elevation change.

      Anyway, additional thoughts.


  34. God bless. These times take the entire ‘thrill’ out of the chase and out of the ‘desire’ for the box. One person suffering is too many suffering. Other than search and rescue parties, I hope that everyone stays out of the Rockies during the winter. It just is not worth the bog to be “The One”.

  35. I ask for God to be with Randy. I pray that the searchers will find him alive.
    He has a sweet little dog that needs him.

  36. May all this turn out well for Randy… I send Prayers.
    What a wonderful group of people he has pulling for him.

      • The photo shows the oars/paddles right next to the boat, so I suppose searches must have gathered and then placed them next to it, rather than finding them as pictured. If that’s the case, I wonder how far apart they found everything. I hope and pray they find Randy safe and sound.

        • I had noticed the same thing, Wendy. Sure would be nice if that’s how the raft was found by Search and Rescue. It would give a more positive note to the situation.

        • I wish I could learn firsthand, but I believe we will learn the outcome by the professionals. I’ve looked at New Mexico Search and Rescue Facebook to see if there’s any updates through that avenue. I haven’t seen anything new at this time. I’ve only read a post from a gal that was around an area for which Randy may have entered his raft. There’s more for which she says, but I’ll leave that to others to look at the page. Waiting for answers is tough for us, but even tougher for Randy’s family. They’ll continue to be in my prayers, as well as, all involved. If I learn anything, I’ll be sure to post.

  37. Desperation and uncertainty are such a heavy weight for this sweet family to bear. Praying with hope for you all as you await news from rescue teams.

  38. Kevin and I got such a kick out of Randy and Leo at the book signing. He explained how he had taught Leo to sniff bronze so he wouldn’t have to carry a metal detector. Like all the others here, I am praying he is found safe and sound.

  39. In the photo from the book signing, he appears to have a smart phone (behind the green bottle). I’m sure the SAR team has already asked, but if not: Does anyone in the family have his Apple or Google ID? The last location picked up by his phone would be recorded with them.

  40. Wish I could be there to help. Best I can to is send prayers!! Searchers, you be safe too!!!

  41. The dog is the searcher’s best bet. Unfortunately, Leo is probably not trained to track. A dog has scent glands on their feet. Each step is like a bread crumb to a dog. They can easily backtrack their own steps for up to a week or so… depending on weather that is. My concern is that the dog would have stayed with Randy (unless Randy climbed a cliff where the dog could not follow, unlikely, as Randy would not have left the dog behind IMO). If Randy was injured the dog would have stayed by him. If Randy was terminally injured, after a few days the dog would likely leave to search for food. Leo likely followed his own scent trail back to the raft in search of food or just because it is the only familiar territory. Either way, Leo likely knows the trail from the raft back to Randy. Randy is not too far (1 mile or less) from the raft. JMO.

    I have lived with many dogs and wolves alike. I know them well. I have trained my own service dog. I know how they think and act. Leo is the best bet, IMO.

    We are all hoping and praying for Randy. Time is our enemy.


  42. My prayers for you Randy,

    IF one of the searchers puts a leash on Leo I bet leo could find Randy.
    From the photos we know Randy made it to the bank and secured his things.
    Look for routes from that area that would not be real hard to travel through.
    Seeing the raft and Leo in that area tells me Randy could not have gone to far from that area. If I knew the area I would stick a pin and string in a map and draw a circle that would represent 2 to 3 hrs travel time. That would be a good area to search for him.

    Hope you get back soon Randy with the chest and a real good hunt story.

    • Did I understand them to say he had diving gear? If so maybe he secured the raft and went back in the river. Maybe Forrest could help authorities with the general area. I’m sure Randy has emailed Fenn his solve or maybe not. Thoughts and prayers go out to the family. As the one streat sign behind Randy’s dog says “prayers”. Good day to all searchers and stay safe!

  43. Hello All, Just wanted to let you know that Randy’s ex-wife and girls decided to keep Leo at the shelter. I emailed one of his daughters and made my offer, but at this time they are keeping him there. I told her I respect and honor their decision, but I am ready and available when/if they change their mind. As I mentioned before, I am a volunteer at the shelter and know the excellence in care that they offer. He is being taken care of there and will not be ignored. I just wanted to give him the extra love and hugs he deserves.

  44. An update for those who want to help:

    We have offered to help search or help feed the search team from NM Search and Rescue. They have not yet taken us up on our offer, but when and if they ask for any help, I will pass the word on to you all.

    In the mean time, I have started a GoFundMe page for Randy’s family. I know many of you want to help, and sometimes the best help we can give is to stay home and offer prayers and well wishes.


    If you would like to donate, please go to the link and do it there. All money raised will go directly to Randy’s family, so they can use it for whatever they need.

    To Randy’s family: Please email me directly so that I can make sure this gets to you. You can contact me at cutterconcepts @ gmail.com.

  45. Just read this today. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends and little Leo. God Bless this family and give them peace, good news and closure. Randy is in God’s hands and all is in the spirit now. Am praying really hard and faithfully for his being found. As searchers ourselves, we all hope he is found well and alive today. Any thing anyone needs just ask, want to come boots on the ground myself but cannot. Lots of caring wishes to his ex-wife and daughters and grands. God hold the entire family and situation in your arms and heart. Thank you Jesus for watching over all of us and give them complete peace. Amen. Ms. Girl….. Lots of prayers and good wishes coming your way….

    • Sadly, Forrest could not find an available airplane all weekend. It is a holiday weekend, so they were all, booked. However, he has not given up on trying to help in any way he can.

  46. Is there a link to what the search team is actually doing? Areas searched, strategy? trailing dogs.. they would tell if he went back in the water. Any chance he found the chest and was dry gulched? I don’t think his dog would leave him or him leave the dog. Raft didn’t wash up in that place like that. Can this group have a representative contact the search commander and act as liaison to the search? I know the commander is too busy to send infor out, but this group is huge and if somebody could get the info between SAR and TC hunters you guys would really help the search effort just from your feed back. Someone needs to establish a link.

    • We have a link, 21Ponies. We actually have a few. Unfortunately, communications are not fast when the area to search is great. There is also no new progress to report, so that is why there is a lack of updates.

      As soon as we hear any news, we will share it with the entire group. We know that everyone is very worried for Randy, and we all share the concern for his safe return.

      I wish I had more to share. The moment SAR asks me for something, you guys will know it.

      • I was actually fishing for search details, ex: dog reactions, strategy, number of searchers, trackers, air craft… The SAR coordinator doesn’t realize the resource sitting on this blog doing nothing.The maps should be computerized showing PLS, LKL,Where Leo and raft were found, other evidence located and where. areas already searched and who searched it.Its a click of a button to send it. If you have a link to that info can you share it? Are you actually part of the search? What capacity?

        • Yea, maybe it is considered a crime scene where all the details cannot be disclosed by any individuals involved. I would like to think Randy’s immediate family would be the first to know anything significant found.


  48. For those not living in this area … it is a sunny day with temps in the high 30’s, low 40’s. The weather is definitely cooperating in the search.

  49. Gosh, Please Please don’t hunt out there alone! We need to team up for this type of searching. Please Lord let Him come home safe!

  50. Looking at the Picture of where the dog and the boat was found, and if the SAR did not move or touch the boat, then it appears the boat has been there for some time and placed by Randy.
    I have been thinking about what scenarios that could happen to Randy that would separate him from his dog Leo and have come up with two.
    First, Randy may have fallen down an old mine shaft or hole that the dog could not follow, and hopefully Randy is still alive, but injured. Second and I pray not the case, he became incapacitated in a way he could not care for Leo.
    These scenarios would cause Leo to return to the river because of thirst. If this is the case Randy would not be seen from the air because he is below ground or under foliage.
    I think he could be within a 1 mile radius and the best chance would be tracking dogs and someone who may know the geological makeup of the area for possible old mines or crevasses.

  51. Crazy thought. If Randy made it to shore, and not positive to his exact surroundings, would it be possible that he would follow the sun? Heading “east”, but because of the season, it may be off a bit. Thoughts anyone?

  52. My prayers are with Randy. Im putting my faith in all the wonderful people searching for him. I wish i could do more to help. Thanks to all of you, for doing everything you to help.

  53. I was finally able to get the phone number to the command center. This afternoon, I talked to Bob Rodgers who is in charge at the command center. He said the command center is set up on the way to Bandelier (west side of Rio Grande). But the searchers today are searching the east side of the Rio Grande and spread out over a long range. He will email me tonight with an update. I will post it here after I hear from him. If Randy hasn’t been found by the end of today, I will ask Bob if some of us local folks can be of assistance in the search, as well as offering food and beverages for the SAR team.

  54. Can Erin describe Leo’s condition in detail when they found him? I know she mentioned he was thin, but about mud, burs in the fur, conditions of the feet? Was he wet? Has there been rain since the 5th? Was he wearing any protective clothing? What was the condition of Leo’s gear? Leo’s condition can provide insight into how long he’s been without his human. And maybe Leo returned to the boat if something happened elsewhere.

    • Those are great questions Melissa. The search area is in a remote (no cell area) area. So information is slow to wind it’s way back to us. One would assume that the family is getting better info. I suspect we will only find out what they discover and what clues they have to work with after they are finished. If they decide it becomes a crime scene we may never know all the facts as long as they are investigating.

      • Would it be safe to say that the boat was upside down for the possibility of being a shelter?

        The dog was at the boat and in the pictures him and the dog was close, so is there a possibitly of him being around that area in a cave?

        The river looked shallow where the helicopter landed so what is the chance of the water high in that area at the time he was searching?

        Do flash floods frequent that area during rain storms and if so what day did they get rain from his search day to current?

        • I can’t imagine a loyal, scared dog would wander very far from the last place he saw and could smell his master. Still hoping and praying Randy is found soon.

  55. I have to say the photo above is amazing to look at and see so many different scenes. It is the photo below Randy’s Shadow. I have looked at it often. Thank you Randy!

  56. I’ve scrolled through Randy’s photos several times and I think they’re great. I like the horse going to church but my favorite one is of Leo with the double rainbow behind him. Don’t you just love when the sun is out where you are but the sky is all dark and stormy off in the distance?! I wish I was right there in that moment.

  57. I found this on a local TV news web-site 🙁

    Search suspended for treasure hunter in Santa Fe

    Elizabeth Reed, KOB.com
    Created: 01/18/2016 10:43 AM

    New Mexico State Police have suspended the search for a Colorado man who went missing while reportedly searching for Forrest Fenn’s hidden treasure near Santa Fe.

    The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Randy Bilyeu, 54, was reported missing last week. On Friday, Santa Fe police found his dog near the Rio Grande about nine miles from where his car was parked on Buckman Road.

    Bilyeu’s ex-wife told the New Mexican that Bilyeu was looking for Fenn’s hidden treasure chest, which is believed to contain around $2 million worth of gold and jewelry. Fenn said the treasure is hidden somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe.

    Friends also told the New Mexican Bilyeu had purchased a raft to travel along the Rio Grande.

    NMSP told KOB Monday that the search and rescue portion of this case has been suspended until there is further evidence that Bilyeu was in the area.

    “Search and Rescue has exhausted all resources and have not located any clues to indicate his whereabouts,” Sgt. Elizabeth Armijo told KOB.

  58. For Randy and Leo:

    “The thrill of the chase, the blood pumping through your veins. Just the two of us against the rest of the world.” – Sherlock

  59. Just a few.months ago, i was searching like Randy, but without my companion. After seeing the search effort, lag time, and hearing information made public, I’m not sure i would put myself at risk and search in New Mexico even if the weather was better. I dont know what happened to Randy and hope he is found safe, but i would want my family and public to leave no stone unturned and have helicopters and divers searching for me more than three or four days. Im saddened from all that has happened. New Mexico turism will be impacted by this event.

  60. For what it’s worth, I’d contribute to the cost of asking an animal communicator to try and work with Leo. I know a few that I trust.

  61. I was just reviewing this post, looking for a pic (I didn’t find what I was looking for here), and a couple things got my attention.

    First, it seems Randy shared his solve with f, otherwise it was a secret to only he and Leo. This sharing with f may have been done via US snail mail. The obvious has probably already been done, but has f searched for this letter correspondence, and also for any personal emails from Randy? finding this would be really helpful.

    Secondly, Randy seemed to think that f responded to him by writing SB #61…”It seems logical to me that a deep thinking treasure searcher could use logic to determine an important clue to the location of the treasure. Is someone doing that now and I don’t know it? It’s not what they say on the blogs that may be significant, it’s what they whisper. f” Can anyone make sense of this…Randy is a deep thinker, or he should look way down deep in the canyon? What is logical about randy’s location and solve?

    Third observation…in pic 23 of 25, Randy is wearing a pair of neoprene chest waders. I am a fly fisherman, and this observation offers a couple things to mention. They are neoprene, and offer a good amount of both warmth and flotation. He probably had these on during his rafting trip for these reasons. Also, it is a big deal that they are chest waders, and not hip waders as previously stated on the blog. There is a difference. Hip waders only come up to the belt, and are for crossing knee deep water. Hip waders can easily fill with water and get real heavy, I know. Chest waders come up to the armpits, and are for navigating deeper waters. They typically have a waist belt that should be tightened, so in a fall they don’t fill with water completely. (this happened to my son on the Snake River near YNP during one of my searches, he was then pulled completely under and into a 8-10? ft. deep eddy, he is very athletic and was able to somehow hold his breath long enough and muscle his way out…we went on to catch many gorgeous cutthroats from that pool making a very memorable afternoon.) Any way, f stated the Rio Grande water level was very low for Randy, so these chest waders offered a good amount of protection if he did cross the river. So there is less chance of a wading incident. lastly, these waders have the typical chest pocket, and randy has a plastic bag sticking out of it. this is the likely place to keep an all important map dry, safe, and just under his nose for checking. IMO Randy Randy was wearing these for warmth and flotation during his raft trip, and not for crossing the river from the east to the west side. It is too easy to just beach his raft on the west side, if that was his area of interest.

    I hope something in here might be useful to those thinking of Randy, and out looking for him.

  62. @Homebrew, only Forrest can answer your questions about what Randy may have emailed or snail mailed him, and Forrest would have immediately addressed those issues personally to assist the search effort.

    Here is my take on the “deep thinking” which has been debated in minutia on multiple TTOTC blogs. I’ve no idea how Randy interpreted deep, but I’m throwing out my two cents hoping no one else will attempt deep water wading or deep, dangerous canyons.

    The word deep is a mirror image word that appears as peed (12 year old boy humor). More importantly, there are a few references in Forrest’s memoir TTOTC to upside down, mirrors, and perhaps masonic philosophy (which states ‘as above, so below’)

    I believe deep has nothing to do with topography. Rather it’s a way of thinking and interpreting the line drawings in TTOTC and the words in the poem. A concrete example of this line of thinking is Forrest’s dad&brother’s initials M.W.which form a mirror image and when stacked are the same above and below.

  63. My prayers go out to Randy’s family and all who have searched for him I don’t really have any insight or suggestions from all the info and photo’s that have been posted. Just a comment; There is a very remote possibility that maybe Randy does not wish to be found. This is just an observation from 900 miles away…

  64. I remember at the book signing, I saw Leo, and petted Titan. We had to leave our dog, Abby, in the motel room. I saw Randy and Leo just as in Picture #1 and told my husband, “if we knew, we could have brought Abby.” I really wanted to join the after party but I had a BUSTING headache. I am doing all I can looking at the photos and drone videos and forwarding what I find to Dal. Accidents happen, that is why they call them accidents. I know Randy would never have willing left Leo. I love the pics Randy took of Leo, his very, very best pal ever!

    • I believe with all my heart your right Randy would not leave Leo. I don’t think any amount of money could inspire this thought. What travels through my mind is Randy got hurt or lost somewhere close to the raft location or he pulled the raft up to the river edge upriver by where he put in and the wind carried Leo down river.

      I think he may have just been testing the raft out and went maybe to the water holding ponds I found in the pictures I took right down river from where we think he put in but on the west side of the river. I hear of photos of prints of a dog and boots prints but no one is sharing them from the canyon across from the raft. why is there no communication

      If Randy is up river or down river is what we must come together to find out. No on knows for sure and the SFSAR have it in their minds that he is down river and up river is a waste of time. We don’t have time to waste. You are a angel spirit thank you and everyone for giving their time to Help Find Randy. JB and Titan

  65. Really hope you find out some news soon everyone. Just been reading some of the comments here and the effort that is being made to help find Randy. Praying you get to find him or at least find out what happened to him soon. god bless. J

    • Read an article that reported the same thing. I was also wondering what portion is off limits to public.

    • Wow! The Feds are involved……if this turns out to be foul play someone get in BIG trouble..

      Federal authorities say they’re checking areas within Bandelier National Monument where it’s too dangerous for the public to go.

    • Peace to Randy and his two beautiful daughters. May they find soothing moments in their fond memories of the times they shared with him ..


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