Search Update…

Randy searchers galore
by Forrest


When pilot Satoshi Mori, flight nurse Erin Johnson, and medic Tom Cremeens heard about Randy being lost, they jumped. Within minutes they were in a Careflight helicopter chopping air and striking west. When they hit the Rio Grande they found Randy’s car. There it was, and the search was on. They flew 17 miles downriver, looking, searching. Nothing! After circling Cochiti Lake they decided to search the river banks upstream.

Then suddenly they spotted the boat that had been pulled hundreds of feet away from the river. It was inverted with its paddles neatly placed. As they landed on a sandbank they saw Leo. Erin tried to coax him in. He had not eaten for eleven days. It was thirty minutes before she was able to hug him. He was thin. Satoshi crumbled a Granola bar, and suddenly Leo and Erin were best buddies.


Draw a diagonal line from the lower left corner to the upper right corner. In the lower left is Randy’s boat. Leo is the small white spot on the grass, then the helicopter and finally the Rio Grand is in the background. So it looks like Randy pulled everything a good distance away from the river.

Another view of the boat and helicopter

Another view of the boat and helicopter

The area is steep and perhaps Randy climbed up to see if he could find a cell connection

The area is steep and perhaps Randy climbed up to see if he could find a cell connection

Erin making friends with a very hungry Leo

The flight crew searched the area for over an hour by land and then another 30 minutes from the air. When fuel ran low they returned to base and made a comprehensive report to the State Police.

The good news is that there was not much snow on the ground and the boat was far from the river.

At noon today I went to the animal shelter to see Leo. When I walked in Erin was talking on the phone to Linda (Randy’s ex-wife) It was lucky timing for me. Linda wants Leo shipped to her in Orlando. We will make that happen when the time is right. Erin had been with Leo for three hours when I arrived. She is delightfully dedicated to him.


Erin, Leo and Forrest

The first heroes in this search are Satoshi, Erin, Tom, and Tri-State Careflight, a private company who didn’t hesitate to rush to the call. You have to love all of those guys – and the gal of course. f

KDVR in Denver asked Forrest for a comment on the evolving search for Randy. Forrest wrote the following:

Randy’s boat was found several hundred feet from the river. His little dog Leo was there, but no sign of Randy. The helicopter crew who found the boat searched the surround area for an hour then another 30 minutes from the air. The search and rescue people are out in mass now and volunteers are standing ready to assist the searchers with hot drinks and food. The good news is that there is little snow on the ground along the river. The little dog, Leo is at the animal shelter and is being treated like a king.

I met Randy at a book signing I had here in Santa Fe last September. He is a happy guy with a big smile and a ready wit. I spoke with his ex-wife today and am in touch with his two daughters. We still are hopeful that he will be found safe. The search and rescue guys are out searching all the caves, rock shelters and crannies. f


432 thoughts on “Search Update…

    • I’m praying for Randy.Thank you to all the searchers. God Bless you!

      My 2 cents:
      **** Any chance of a police, news or military, chopper (or drone) with a FLIR system, to make a sweep of the area? Any body heat would show up easily this time of year, day or night against cool ground. I would search with the FLIR camera pointed straight down, based on the canyons in the area.

      -Depending on the snow/water situation, a tracking dog would possibly be able to follow his scent from the raft..
      -I don’t see any evidence of a camp fire in the photos. If he was injured near the boat, he would have tried to stay warm, and signal with a fire (lots of brush/fuel in the photos). So, as others have stated, my guess is that Randy placed the boat there as a “temporary” thing and set off to explore. Plus the boat is kind of hidden from the air, not really out in the open as in a “rescue me here” scenario.
      -No mention of a backpack being found. I assume that he walked away from the raft, with a backpack. Assuming he had basic fire starting materials in the backpack (even your cell phone battery terminals can start a fire/spark by placing metal across them-which may kill the battery!), and we don’t see any smoke now. So, I would start to look in the areas with little or no vegetation (fuel for a fire). If he is injured, and cannot move, even to fire wood, he might be in this dirt only type of area.
      -A signal mirror was not seen by the helo crew. Even the glass on your phone would work for this, unless you’re in a canyon or a hole.
      -After 3 days with no water, you’re in big trouble. Assuming he carried some in the backpack he’s now past the danger point, and this would be his primary survival concern (after any injuries of course).
      -The human body can go about 3 weeks without food, so let’s all continue to work and pray for his rescue.

      • Agree 100%, 200V and Dal. My husband mentioned this last night. He felt the National Guard should be called in with this, but wasn’t sure if the cost would deter this decision.

      • Extremely intelligent response. Hope the thermal tech can be used to find him. Meanwhile the power of group prayer…. That little dog probably went out looking for help for his master.

  1. To have pulled the boat that far from the banks of the river has me wondering if he was planning on being away from it for awhile. Maybe he was trying to hike back to his car for help to retrieve Leo and his gear.

      • since he apparently did leave Leo, I think it needs to be considered under which circumstances he would.

          • Or he might have twisted an ankle and was unable to carry Leo out while also using a limb to walk with. In which case he probably did what Forrest suggested and was attempting to reach high ground for a cell signal or was attempting to make it back upstream to his car. Or if he is familiar with the area or had a map then he might have been heading for the nearest place of assistance. Since his raft was so far from the river, my thoughts are that he wanted his equipment and Leo out of harms way while he was planning a prolonged absence.

      • Hi eaglesabound, I was browsing the blog and just noticed your post. IMO I believe you are right. Randy would never leave Leo. My opinion is that unforeseen circumstances beyond their control separated them. Who or what separated them? Thoughts?

        • CB,
          Thoughts, I have many regarding Randy’s disappearance. Much of what was said didn’t pass my smell test. I would have never left my dog for all the treasure in the world which only leaves me to believe one thing, that Randy was not alone.IMO of course.

        • My opinion is the river separated them. I think Randy will be found soon and hopefully that will answer at least some questions.

  2. Thank you so much for the update Forrest! Let us know what we can do to get Leo home to his family.

  3. Encouraging news. Fingers crossed for a good ending. Like I said in other post, if dogs could talk…….but they can! Ask Leo where his 2-footed pink is!!!

    • Hi Melanie, I just seen your comment, and I have to ask, what do you mean by “his 2,footed pink”? Sorry, I’m just a flatlander from Kansas. We don’t use that term here.

      • Does anyone here have any ideas why a domesticated dog like Leo had such animosity toward humans when he was found? I’d think a domestic socialized dog who hadn’t eaten in days would come running up to the first human he saw, begging for food, since Leo was raised to depend on humans for food. Ideas on this, anyone?

        • Hi again CB – I think Leo’s animosity was more extreme caution as the result of being terrified and abandoned for 10 days in a rough and dangerous place with no escape. He was traumatized. It’s pretty amazing a coyote, owl or cougar didn’t find him.

        • Poor Leo had been traumatized… There’s no telling what he witnessed and experienced while out there. I don’t even like to think about it. He was stranded out there, alone for 11 days I think… He was probably thinking Randy would show up again and things would go back to normal, but that didn’t happen. Randy was gone, no food bowls were being put down, he was enduring bitterly cold temps, wet, scared, alone, starving, strange animal sounds probably coming out of the bushes… He was out of his element. I’d be scared too! Then this loud SAR helicopter comes flying in, someone gets out and tries to coax him near… I’d be a little apprehensive too! He didn’t understand what was going on. Poor little guy. I do hope he’s better now and is able to feel some love and security in his new life, whatever that is I’m not sure… It’s just a really horrible and sad thing to have happened. I wish it wouldn’t have turned out as it did. Anyway, that’s how I look it.

      • Hi CB – 2 footed pink refers to Leo’s companion, Randy… Leo being Randy’s 4 footed pink. Pink, as in a promise, pledge or bond between close friends – sorta like a pinky promise, I guess.

        I picked up the term from a dear friend years ago who used it to describe her relationship with her 4 footed pinks, her horses and hounds.

  4. Thank You Forrest for keeping us posted. No need to blame yourself…no need for any blame games for anybody from anybody.
    Things happen sometimes that we do not understand for reasons that we may never understand. We can not know the future…just the One who holds the future in the palm of his hand. -guy-

    • Guy, I believe you are right, I must say that I pray that Randy is found alive. The time he has been out there is a bit disturbing to me. I do not have all the answers or the information, but will offer this to Mr.Fenn. We go out in search as a lone person, and God has a plan for all of us. Mr. Fenn is not a religious man, but a very spiritual man. Whether we believe in either, none, or both is “free will” , and have freedom of choice as Americans. If something bad happened to Randy, nobody else should have remorse over what happened. If I go out in the wilderness looking and get ate by a bear, I don’t think that anyone should blame themselves for what happened to me.

      I am praying for his safe return, and as much for the family and friends, searchers, and everyone that his disappearance has touched.

      I have not had the pleasure to meet Forrest Fenn, but know that this was not an intention, even though he said he thought of everything when placing his treasure. You can’t plan for everything. “Making plans is antagonistic to freedom” f

      I am seriously amazed by the number of caring, compassionate people willing to help find Randy. Without knowing the family at all, I am certain that they deeply appreciate the support everyone has offered. I would be there in a half a heartbeat if not for my job and the distance.

      Thank you all from my deepest sincerity…. Mr. Fenn, SAR, family, friends, fellow searchers, and Dal and Goofy, and et al.

  5. Forrest, Thank you for the update. It’s encouraging to see that Randy pulled the raft up on to shore but sorry to hear that Leo had been out there for 11 days. Praying Randy is found soon.

    • Sorry hit post by accident. was the boat found at the mouth of Arroyo Canyon? If so, there appears to be a water fall at the end of the Canyon. if he was following the poem, he may have walked there to search.

      • nearindianajones, Hi, I was browsing the blogs and noticed your post. I read there were two campers spotted in the area around that time. I wonder if anyone else was searching for treasure near a waterfall in the winter and may have seen Randy in the area? They may not have known who he was but they could’ve been the last ones who seen him before he went missing.

    • I am not aware of anyplace called Arroyo Canyon. There is Ancho Canyon upstream from Frijoles Canyon. The New Mexican said the boat was found 9 miles down stream from Buckman crossing which puts it about 2 miles downstream from the mouth of Frijoles canyon. Arroyo Montosa enters on the east bank about 2 1/2 miles downstream from Frijoles. On the west bank as you proceed downstream from Frijoles you first past Lummis Canyon and then Alamo Canyon.

      • thats it Arroyo Montosa,
        35.71363 N
        106.25674 W
        is a seasonal water fall.
        May be worth a look. If the boat was found here
        35.72026 N
        106.27107 W

        • That is a good idea. I know a lot of searchers are drawn to waterfalls. If that one is close to where his boat was found then it just might be worth checking out. I don’t know that area. I wish him a quick return to his family and dog.

  6. God Bless to All rescuers and Tri State Careflight. We all give our souls to you each time we enter difficult situations. Thanks for helping Leo as I have a big heart for small doggies. In the pictures I can see how much Randy loves Leo and how sad Leo is without Randy. But I don’t think you should do anything with Leo yet until Randy is found or otherwise reported differently. If Randy is found (God Willing) the first love of his life is who he’s going to want to hold. Remember, Randy is lost, hurt or otherwise and I am sure he feels like he let Leo down too. Yes, I am being optimistic as I refuse to give up until there is absolutely no other direction that can be take.
    God Bless you Randy and Tri State Careflight and the animal shelter and a Special thanks to all searchers. Just knowing we are all a family is comforting that if something happens to me that someone cares enough to move on it. Doexs anyone know if they got a “tracker and or his dog” to try and follow his scent or his tracks. It was a long time though.

  7. Good luck to the searchers of randy. Please don’t look for the treasure in the winter as Forrest has said many times! It’s not worth it. Thank God Leo was safe.

  8. Eagles,
    I agree it is highly unlikely for any dog lover to abandon their do. On a more positive note Randy may have gone looking for Leo if they go separated and Leo found his way back. Just trying to think positive as are you. May God shine his glory on Randy at this time and rescue him into his loving arms that were pierced for the rescue of His children.

    • It’s hard to look at this logically since my emotions are running high, but since the boat was pulled way up the beach and that’s where they found Leo, we have to assume they were both there together at some point. Since we agree that Randy would not leave Leo, we can only assume they left together. which means something happened elsewhere then Leo went back to the boat. Someone suggested he may have fallen in a hole?
      Because Leo came back to the boat suggests they spent some time there. Again, its so hard to look at this like the treasure hunt . Praying Randy will be reunited with Leo soon.

      • I would also like to add that looking at the picture of the raft, tucked up in a big bush, they may have spent several nights there. That could be why Leo came back to that place after they got separated.

  9. Maybe Randy found the treasure……….and……?

    Forrest, You look good in the picture. Thanks for caring so much about us all and the cute sweet dog. Best Wishes and Thank You to all the searchers, be safe.
    How Remote is this place? is there any roads near there? How far away?

    Regards, Lou Lee

  10. Frightening to think what might have happened. I only hope and pray that he has a strong will to survive it all. God bless,Randy.
    Good to see that Leo is in safe hands. Thankyou Forrest.

  11. Forrest, thank you for updating the search community. There are so many caring folks here praying and eager to assist. May Randy be found soon with a will to survive as doggedly determined as Leo.

  12. I’m not really sure about posting this as it seems like one of the first things they’d do…but did they check under the raft? Perhaps the raft might be covering an entrance to a small cave or shelter area where he may have crawled into (the area to the left of the raft) to spend the night. That would help explain why Leo was still there.

    My family and I continue our prayers for Randy, his family and all those involved.

  13. A big THANKS to Satoshi Mori, Erin Johnson, and Tom Cremeens for their efforts to find Randy. And thank you for providing the pictures of the area where the raft and Leo were found. We all are so concerned and worried about our fellow searcher and even though I never met Randy personally, I feel as if I know him through all the pictures and messages posted about him. Thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family and friends.

  14. Thank you for the search update with photos, Forrest. It really helps to get a better idea of the terrain. I too think the raft being found 200 feet away from the shoreline brings some encouragement to Randy’s mysterious disappearance. I will continue to hope/pray for a miracle that will reunite Randy with his best friend, Leo.

    • My thoughts exactly, WiseOne. It certainly is a mystery how his raft ended up there with his dog and not any sign of him there. From what I’ve seen in his pics he loves that dog and would never leave him there alone. Something very strange must have occurred. Leo is small enough to be carried down in your shirt, he wouldn’t have left him period. My prayers are with all concerned.

      • Yes, I did not want to Judge anything, but it seems ODD. Makes you wonder. Strange and concerning….I thought the same last night. Worried.

  15. Thanks to all for what they are thanks for going right out there.i don’t think leo would leave his master.those two was a pair.i agree,get some search hound dogs out there searching.i’m sorry but to me sounds like fowl play.are there any broken or laid down grass or something to follow.or already messed up by people.this man was a pretty smart man.and the ex is wanting leo often did she see her ex and leo.or the long has he been divorced . something just don’t add up.if leo has on a sweater,surely his masters smell is on there. Or the boat.if he fell and got hurt.i think he would of tried to make a signal if he could.a mark.was leos tracks anywhere along the land area.hope they find him real soon ,ok.

  16. I think if we had coordinates of the boat scene, searchers could get inside the head of a treasure hunter with this poem and possibly estimate where he was headed.

      • one thing is for sure…it would not do a bit of harm to have other like minded searchers’ eyes on the case. The more the better

        • Iron ,
          Im in Sante Fe now… Boots on the ground. I was out old Beckman rd. To around the area of his car. We drove really slow looking for tracks or anything else we could find until it was way to dark to see. We are back at the hotel now. But we want to try and connect to the SandR team in the am. If your here , lets get together and search for Randy.

          • Sorry Mike, I live all the way out in Virginia… all I can do is map recon and hope for the best. 🙁

    • I agree, everyone should be praying for a safe return of Randy .. “There but for the grace of god go I” ..

      Has anyone thought of measuring the dog, then overlaying that information onto a map of the search area? just saying….

  17. While I pray for Randy, it’s comforting to know how many good folks there are searching and praying and spreading hope.
    Randy was doing what he loved, and was with who he loved. I pray he found shelter and warmth wherever he may be.

  18. Randy’s family truly appreciates all that everyone is doing in the search. I cried when I got the call that Leo was found alive. Leo has given our family hope that Randy too will be found…soon. Thank you to Careflight, Forrest and mostly to the NMSAR!

    • Thank you Linda for posting here…

      You are now part of our family here and we pray for a very good outcome and very soon. If you know the coordinates of where the boat was found – we could do a google ground search as they have updated the search area to aid the searchers.

      If there is anything we can do for you please don’t hesitate to tell us.. Keep strong and keep the faith.

        • I do not have the coordinates, just 9 miles down river on the east side. I will ask tomorrow.

          • Linda –

            Has anyone searched his paper work or computer on the chase which may be at his house? That just may tell you a lot. I do not take my paper work with me on a hunt. Of course that may be in the car as well…..

  19. Thank you Mr. Fenn for the update, and the effort put forward by you and the staff of Careflight, SAR, and caring people in the area. May the searchers remain safe, and Randy be found and reunited with Leo.

  20. Thank you Forrest for sending this information to Dal so we know what is happening and how Leo is doing. I’m glad to hear that Satoshi, Erin, and Tom rushed to look for Randy and Leo. It’s comforting to know that Leo is in good hands and is being visited by Erin and yourself. Sasha and Cynthia, you guys are the best!

    I hope they find Randy soon so he’s reunited with Leo. All we can do is search online, pray and shower Leo with love (dog treats, blankets, etc). Leo is one hardy little dog!

  21. Search and rescue teams do great work. I hope someone out there searching is a tracker trained by Tom Brown Jr, The Tracker, trained at his school in the Pine Barrens of NJ. A number of his long time students live in NM and have served on S & R team searches. Footprints get muddied by the multitude of people at the scene. Trackers have to go out in wide circles beyond the mess of prints until they pick up Randy’s track to follow it. Any great tracker can do this and it will lead to his trail. May Randy be found safe and intact.

    • Howdy KD, I’m a long time tracker trained by Ab Taylor, I googled the area, it would be a hell hole to try and track in. A person might get a direction of travel. Their best bet are some really good trailing dogs, likely blood hounds. The flir was a good idea if he still has body heat. ( which we all hope). People don’t just vanish, they leave sign every where they go. But they have to have someone at the last known location that can read it. The helo crew is awesome. Erin should adopt Leo.

        • We generally don’t worry about drug cartels this far north.

          That area, between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, is filled with reservation land. There is very little out there. Plus, you need permission to go into some areas. In addition, there are also national parks and military facilities nearby.

          If that wasn’t enough, it is all canyons and serious elevation changes.

          • I did not want to comment on this, as family is reading posts, but are you kidding? NM is drug pipeline all the way from the Mexican border to Colorado. Let’s hope nothing of the kind applies to this situation

          • Not via the Rio Grande this far north, tho. If you look at all the GE shots being posted, you can see why.

      • Since you are a trained tracker you know the challenge when you arrive at the scene where police and other early arrivals walk round and round the site, making it very difficult to pick up the missing person’s track. 200V offered many great insights last night. Yes, the thermal device is only good for locating a body that’s still generating heat. Your description of the terrain sounds rugged but a highly advanced tracker only needs one real track to follow the trail. We need the Aboriginal man who was so good he could track a fish through water.

        • Hi KD,
          Ideally there would have been a blood hound, handler, and a tracker on the medic chopper. Then you would know if Randy ever made it to the sand bar with the raft and Leo, how he got out of the water, what he did, where he went and a direction of travel. I am confident after reading several of the posts, that NMSAR through their search efforts likely cut for sign everywhere they went. They would have found something. Yes, you can take one print or partial and step by step track someone, its a 3 man team, switching lead as the lead burns out. Its very slow, and tedious…but it works. i didn’t say it couldn’t be done, I said it would be a hell hole to track in. everyday, every gust of wind, drop of rain, snow etc, deplete the tracks. They don’t last forever. 12 days with 3 or more snow storms and rain, you aren’t going to find much sign. I out tracked a blood hound once, the dog gave up and I continued to cut the trail until I had it again and found the guy. The sad part here is that Randy wasn’t reported missing in a timely fashion.

          As far as tracking fish in water.. if you’ve got silt in the creek and a big enough fish you can see where it went

          With all due respect to everyone, this is a sad, unfortunate situation that is likely not going to end well. My heart goes out to Leo, He lost everything.

          • Agree, it is sad and it was a late start in searching for him due to delayed notification. That’s just the way it unfolded and all have done the best they can. Glad you have advance tracking skills and that you outlasted the hound. From a variety of sources it’s not looking good, but I may still give it a shot under the right circumstances this weekend. BTW, the Aboriginal man who became a legend tracked fish through clear rivers, just to give you an idea what the best of the best can do.

  22. Hope you make it Randy! King is routing for you. Who knows maybe fainted after seeing motherlode…drug it in one of those caves.

  23. I created this map for those wondering about the location Randy was searching. There are some things to know about this map. First, the northern most yellow pin is the end of the Old Buckman Road where Randy’s car was found. The red line from that pin connects to 9 miles down the Rio Grande “as the bird flies.” The horizontal red line is a line I drew on this map many months ago that marks 6 miles north of where US 286 heads north from Interstate 25. The horizontal green line I just added and it measures 8 miles north of where Santa Fe is marked by a red dot on Google Earth. Forrest said the chest is at least 8.25 miles north of Santa Fe but I never heard if he meant from the center of town or from the north city limit sign. Going with the middle I feel safe that it is north of that green line. You can see Randy started about 2 1/2 miles north of the green line but the raft ended up about 5 miles south of it.

    I didn’t do a lot of zooming in to try to locate the sand bar and am not sure that would be possible anyway, but it does give you a pretty good idea of the general area he was searching.


  24. I just received an update from Bob at SAR command post. SAR has exhausted their search of the area, including the river, and are standing by pending further instructions from the Santa Fe Police Department.

    • Cynthia, have they found ANY of Randy’s tracks for sure anywhere in the area? If he’s alive, as all pray that he is, his life could depend on the search continuing tonight. Yes, the best trackers search 24/7.

    • What concerns me is that as of this afternoon after I spoke with NMSAR no one has searched Randy’s car yet for a map or possibly some tips as to where he intended to search. The car could hold vital information, but proper protocol comes first.

      • He’s been missing for 11 days and people are waiting on protocol when his life is at stake?? SOMEBODY with a bit of authority needs to step up to the plate and get some action now.

        • Fenn Searchers are not professional search and rescue and I would think therefore don’t have to follow their protocols and perhaps could go look for clues as we do in the car and the boat. I know we don’t want to mess anything up, but we need some clues.

      • Has S&R searched the bottom of Frijoles canyon? Based on the photo below the shadow picture
        I’d say that’s a likely place to check. I don’t know what it is like now but it won’t be as wet as shown in the picture. I imagine it’s a sloppy mess. The river where the boat was found is slow and shallow. I think the oar might have been broken by him prying on the quick sand. That boat would have been really hard to propel down stream there. He might have walked across and then hiked back upstream to Frijoles. Maybe he left Leo on the east bank because Leo would’ve been a liability hiking up Frijoles. Would Leo follow orders like “Stay!” or would he have just tagged along if he had the chance?

        • The oars were intact. Not broken. He made a safe landing. Leo would obey orders, he is a very obedient dog. I also thought that Randy flipped the raft for refuge for Leo and headed out in search of cell service or help. Divers did search the lake. Those earth angels went in that freezing water in order to search. Bless their hearts!

      • There’s red-tape for law enforcement, but if you or anyone in your family can guess access to his Google or Apple account, there may be some features of his phone that might help. For example, on Android, your location history is enabled by default and can be read as easily as going to when logged in. Battery and service availability may limit the usefulness of these features, and he may have turned them off, but I thought I’d mention it anyway in case it helps. If you have any questions about how phone location features work, please let me know. I’m thousands of miles from NM and there’s little else I can do, but I want to express my heartfelt support to you and yours in these trying times. If there is anything I can do from the Eastern side of the US, please let me know

  25. I think we all need to change our focus to trying to find Randy now. We’re quite a large collection of determined minded people.

  26. My name is Kathy Leibold and I am Randy Bilyeu’s sister (only sibling for that matter.) My family and I are devastated by these recent events but are hopeful that my brother will be found safe soon. We appreciate all the efforts on his behalf, all the searchers who have been out there and who continue to look for him, and those who are currently caring for his beloved Leo. Leo is an amazing dog and he and Randy are always inseparable so this is very difficult for both of them. I know that he met you, Forrest, last September and we appreciate any insight that you may provide in helping us find Randy. Randy has two beautiful daughters and two adorable granddaughters and my son, his nephew, who want to see him soon. God Bless you all and keep praying for my brother.

    • Kathy & Son,

      Thoughts and prayers are going out to you at this difficult time. Your kind words about Leo say a great deal about the depth of understanding you have of his devotion and the deep bond that he has shared with your brother, Randy. I don’t know how old Leo is,but his love for the mountains and its manywonders are evident in the photos shared here. He appears clearly in his ‘element!.”

      Thank you for sharing your special words and thoughts with us.

      • SL,

        Thank you for your kind words. One of Randy’s recent texts to me was on Christmas Day which said “Merry Christmas from the forest with my best friend” (Leo) while he was on a search. They had found a tiny “Charlie Brown Christmas tree”. They are a dynamic duo and share a special bond. Leo is very devoted to Randy and wouldn’t leave him willingly. He was a good trail dog. Something unusual had to have occurred.

    • Thank you for the heartfelt post, Kathy. Prayers continued to be said for Randy and the family. If there’s anything we can do, please let us know. Perhaps teddy bears for the granddaughters to give comfort during this time?

    • Kathy, thanks for reaching out. It must be very hard waiting and watching and hoping for any good news about your brother. My thoughts and prayers are with your him, for his safe rescue and return to Leo and your family.

      • Thank you Wendy. This has been very surreal but we have comfort in knowing so many kind people like yourself are reaching out with love and support for Randy and his family and to sweet Leo.

    • Kathy I’m very sorry for what your family is going through right now. It’s unimaginable to most any of us. My heart goes out to you and your family.

      Do you think it’s possible to find out where he was when you got that text on Christmas from his phone company? If he was in the forest on a search just 3 weeks ago it seems likely to me that he might have been at a different angle of where he wanted to go, but was unable to get there from that vantage point. Maybe just knowing he was able to make a call is helpful…where would someone get service around there? Bandelier from above?

      I personally believe he made it to his destination and was close and left Leo knowing he was close. I believe as searchers we all know he would have been looking for water high. On we’re trying to figure out where he could have been going. Our ideas so far if he landed 9 miles from the put in, that there are a few water highs from that area.

      Frijole falls back in Frijole Canyon
      Water tanks on East side
      Water Canyon only 5 miles from put in
      Septic water pools up near White Rock Overlook

      There are 3 searchers that are planning on going out to search that I’ve talked to, but maybe if someone could gather ideas to run them passed SAR as a liaison that might be a good idea if they don’t know where to search. I believe there’s a good chance he was going for water high, slipped and might have crawled into something to protect him from the elements making him harder to find and rescue.

      • There’s a discrepancy of where the raft seems to have been. SAR said 9 miles which would be Bandelier, but another searcher pulled up google earth and found that the geography matches better near Alamo Canyon. Someone needs to get the right location or the searchers going out will just be wasting time if at all possible.

        35°41’41.01″N, 106°17’40.54″W. It matches the geography from the photos.

  27. Does anyone know what an average radius or grid pattern consists of for a search and rescue? Husband is already asleep or else I’d ask him. It’s possible each state/group is different. I’m just curious.

  28. NM Search and Rescue has suspended operations. They want more information/direction on where to search.
    Perhaps the State Police will finally search Randy’s car.
    Apparently scent dogs are no good because of recent snow and rain in the area. Same problem for trackers.

    • they should at least try dogs, what do they have to lose if they can’t pick up the trail. Bloodhounds can trail through anything, its been awhile, but they really need to try . Dogs should have been the first thing on the ground after the helo crew found the raft and Leo. It would be a hell hole for trackers.

      • YES, after growing up with a bloodhound I don’t believe the story that dogs could not follow the trail because of a little mud and snow. Last night’s seach shut down was terribly disappointing, I just hope he’s found alive and well, in spite of the slo mo of the search.

    • Dal, Thanks for the update, i wish i was closer,i would be out searching.For now , i will just send more prayers. I believe there are alot of us who can not sleep and would rather be there searching the woods than sitting at home.

    • Unleash the treasure searchers! I think that’s his best chance now. Many are hard at work relating his solve to where he is. If I was a local I would be out there no matter what!
      I really didn’t like waking up to the news that they stopped looking, not that I slept a wink! This is so upsetting!

      • I was very dismayed to learn that they have called off the search for my brother. The weather has been clear but I had heard snow may be in forecast mid-week. They need to take advantage of the current good weather to continue looking for him.

        • Hi Kathy,
          My every thought and prayers are for your brother and my fellow searcher. This is so upsetting for me as I know it is for you and your family. I hope the local treasure searchers heed my appeal and use our unique treasure searching skills to help find your brother. Where there is faith there is always hope ! Don’t give up hope!

          • Thank you Eaglesbound for your kind words. We are trying very hard to do just that. Keeping the faith. Thanks to all who care!

          • Oh hell no the search isn’t suspended!!! I understand their POV but there are still so many unanswered questions. Randy’s daughters and granddaughters need answers. I will do my best to get the search going again. I am hitting a brick wall when it comes to police assistant since the detective in charge of my missing persons report is on a 3 day weekend!!

          • This is so frustrating! How can they take a holiday when every minute counts! Maybe Forrest can help get some answers. Keep pushing Linda and don’t give up pushing . I’ll say it again and hope the locals hear me, UNLEASH THE TREASURE SEARCHERS! !

          • The treasure searchers are on their way! I’m in contact with a few who start searching today. Also when I spoke with NMSAR they gave me 3 reasons why they would suspend the search and only one qualifies, probability of success is mute. Not good enough. But once again…proper protocol is in the way. I await a return call from NMSAR. Those earth angels want to find Randy too.

          • Linda this is so hard and I appreciate everything you are doing. We are all Randy’s family here and our main concern is finding him safe and quickly.

          • I am thousands of miles away and don’t want to jump to conclusions about the way this is being handled. However, it’s really concerning to read recent posts about: (i) family having difficulties interacting with investigators because of a holiday weekend, (ii) Search and rescue pausing activities because of insufficient input from law enforcement on where to look, and (iii) common sense activities such as looking in Randy’s car or on his computer not being performed. I think the leadership of the other of Santa Fe needs to get more engaged with this. It’s important to keep in mind that the search for the Fenn treasure has brought a significant tourism boost to the Santa Fe area and that has had a major economic impact in the region. Forrest was recognized for this last year by the city mayor. I don’t mean to take anything away from the exceptional efforts by the SAR team but it sounds like law enforcement needs to get more engaged in this process. Many of us are too far away to be directly involved in the search but I wonder if there is something we can do to raise awareness of this with the Santa Fe public leadership. This needs to be a really big deal for the city of Santa Fe that one of our own has gone missing. They owe it to the community.

          • @threerocks excellent points made! In addition I found the perfect foster home for Leo but Leo cannot be placed there until the SFPD gives permission. Detective in charge returns to work tomorrow. Even Forrest tried to coax the shelter to release Leo to the foster family but it was a no go. “Protocol.” So never get placed in an animal shelter on a holiday weekend either.

        • I was greatly dismayed to hear that too, Kathy. I offered info that Highly Advanced Trackers live in No. NM. If ANYONE had responded to my comments I would have started making calls to these guys. They don’t go home just because it’s dark and cold. Real trackers go day and night til the person is found.

    • This may sound retarded Dal, but why doesn’t somebody there with Leo take Leo to the area he was found and tell him “Find Daddy, where’s Daddy” and see if Leo will take them to Randy. Perhaps they already have. That’s what we do with our German Shepherd and he is fantastic at it. Leo might take someone where he saw Randy last.

      • And I find that the news media and internet is the best way to get the info out to the community to get community involvement. Put it on the news, radio and all blogs Santa Fe.

      • Have searchers searched the area between the car and the raft? I still say, take Leo out and ask him where Randy is.

  29. That’s too bad, Why did they not search the car earlier? To me that’s crazy. IMO I am not SAR or SP but really? Seem like the most logical place to “begin it” . Begin it where his information is,,,

      • In the past a common tool would easily open a vehicle. Do you suppose PD is guarding vehicle day and night? Seems unlikely. Local guys must know how to get in, at night. Gloves on, retrieve info, re-lock before daylight with no visible clue as to entry. Red headlamp and lantern lights less visible from a distance.

    • Hope you’re having a cup of hot chocolate while doing so. I think everyone could use a cup right now to help soothe the nerves and soul.

  30. I have become separated from my dogs many times when out on hikes in the wilderness. Usually it’s because they spot a deer running in the woods and take off after it…Sometimes I lose them for hours and well after sunset which is when I really start to panic because it can be pitch black and tough to stay on the trail let alone spot a dog. What I’ve noticed is that dogs often find their way back to the parking lot or to some toher familiar spot where we had passed together–and wait for me there.

    I wonder if Randy and Leo somehow became separated and eventually Leo returned to “camp” by instinct and waited for his master there. Meanwhile, Randy is still looking for him.

  31. Dal, do you know which sandbar his raft was found on? Was it on the east or west side? TTOTC searchers might be able to suggest some areas based on that information. It seems that he secured his raft. What feature was he looking for or headed towards might depend on which canyon was he closest to. I’m sure you guys already know this and that the SAR and support are giving it their all. I can only offer my ideas, but it might feel like helping if only because it is hard not to do anything.

    • alopes-
      I only think I know based on what Linda and Cynthia have said on this blog earlier. It appears he landed on the east bank. Beyond that I have no idea. I was not in recent communication with Randy.

      • Thanks Dal, I am tired an have been online too long. What I meant was that my thought about the closest canyon and such was not very original, that it was probably already thought of, I wasn’t trying to say that you knew where he was going or had talked to him about the area. Sorry for the confusion.

    • Randy landed on the east side. According to searchers he had no reason to go to the west side.

      • Very sorry Linda for what you’re going through. Hugs and Love!

        If that’s the case then the only way I can see him searching that area is if he was going to the water tanks up on the ridge as his water high, or he passed water canyon at mile 5 and there is some heavy load or blaze after that.

        Forrest, did Randy tell you where he was going? Can anyone get accurate coordinates of the raft location? I’m assuming it’s at 9 mile(fits the poem in relation to Forrest speaking of the boulder in YNP at 9 mile)which is at Bandelier/Frijoles Canyon area…but that is on the West side. So what on the East was he aiming for? I believe if Leo was taken back there in the good shape he is that he would prance around where Randy was last with him. I believe he might be very near, but just not easily seen.

        John Brown is familiar with this area as he hikes and lives in NM and he is a searcher if the family would consider letting him take Leo there. SAR doesn’t have an understanding of the treasure so they won’t know what Randy was after and how he would have wanted the poem to fit where he was going.

        Feel free to email me at tyblossom at aol dot com if you’d like to get in touch with John.

        • Yes, I too, thought if Leo has the strength. If he does he might lead searchers in the direction of where he last saw Randy. Dogs are smart. He may have gone to the boat and river to get help.

  32. If you Google “Santa Fe New Mexican”, the 2nd link down is “News and Information”. Click. An updated article appears at top and to the left: “Still no trace …”.

    Like everyone else, I too hope for a positive outcome.


  33. My daughter was visiting yesterday and I shared the news about randy and Leo (along with great pix tom took at the after party sept 14). She was touched, apparantly, as I found a note on my desk after she left that said,

    Pray for Whiteboard and Spongdog.

    And I am…

  34. This may sound crazy but if it were my loved one out there I would take Leo back out to the spot where the boat was and see if he returns he might make an attempt to search for his beloved Randy. Thanks to all who have been looking.

      • We thought Leo should be brought back out there too when he was well fed and stronger. If any dog could have found him it would be Leo!!!

        • I agree Kathy. Leo last saw Randy somewhere and it would be my guess would go in that direction till he couldn’t go any further if he was brought there. John Brown a searcher is familiar with this canyon and would be willing to go and take him. Maybe Erin could get him them there.

      • Thank God the treasure searchers are on it. Imo, they are Randy’s best chance. No offense to NMSAR, but we know what Randy was looking for and we won’t give up until we find him!!
        The infrared camera would be very helpful. I hope someone is on that too!
        The west coast should be awake by now, so I’m pleading to Forrest and Dal, our leaders, light a fire under someone’s butt and get more searchers out there!!

        • Amen! There are individuals in this group who have vast political and military contacts. A fire should have been lit under someone’s xxx to get the State Police to open up that car, and get an airborne unit out there last night with the thermal detector. A guy’s life is hanging in the balance. If he’s alive, every second counts. Who’s in charge here??? I went to bed exasperated by the slo mo.

    • Yup, Leo’s got a big investment in this situation. Nothing like a dog’s love for it’s owner.

  35. Does anyone have a drone and clearance to fly it within the search area?
    I know there are a couple guys in NM who have used their drones for SAR work and they’ve been really useful in large searches over rough terrain.

    Contact me at and I’ll put the drone folks in touch with the searchers headed down from Colorado.

  36. Has any with exp. Took a boat down river, from where Leo and boat were located? Make sure he didnt get stuck on branches or wedged in between something. I pray thats not the case. I would love to see him reunited with his bestfriend and his loving family.

    • Dang Jeremy…that looks almost exactly like the sandbar…nice work. If so, I’d be looking up Hondo Canyon. Should be very visible tracks in that wide, sandy deposit.

  37. SAR won’t know what Randy was looking for. Are there treasure hunt , searchers there looking? Praying for Randy to be found .

  38. I’m too far away to physically help with the search, but pouring over Google Earth praying God gives wisdom to the ones who can continue the search.

    It appears Randy beached between areas with well known NA ruins in an area with lesser known cliffs and canyons to search.

    Like many searchers Randy may have been looking for a cave or petroglyphs, etc. a GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF MAPPED CAVES IN THE AREA would help the next round of searchers. Forrest would know who in NM could provide the geological survey.

    Randy’s solve notes and GE tracking online history would be the best help. Can Google Earth provide Randy’s online history of locations viewed?

    • Los Alamos Geological Society, composed of geologists, physicists, key lab people. LAGS on FB. They live in that area, are in good shape from frequent field trips, and know the maps. I’m a member, will post needs now on their FB page.

      • Thanks kd.

        Does anyone know if Google Earth maintains a record of online search history? Or how to obtain it??

        The law enforcement involved should be requesting that.

      • Was the land on the East side of the river the predominant ground search? Or was the west side ‘ground’ searched as well?

        Directly opposite (west side of River) of the raft location coordinates 35.733041°
        -106.261433° is a canyon which on GE looks like branch lightening or fire flames. possible meaning/location as to where warm waters halt (fire, lightening) in a canyon. Also it’s a place below home of brown/Bandolier & Frioles)

  39. Has anyone considered ordering a new high resolution satellite image of the area and posting it here on the blog for all the desktop searchers to scan? It would have to be a Nadir shot (directly over head). It would cost a bit and there are several companies out there that do it.

      • Threerocks,

        Just Googling high resolution satellite imagery I came up with these three companies.

        If someone does order the imagery the company needs to understand what it’s being used for and stock imagery is not acceptable. It has to be new minimum resolution 1 meter, .5 is better.


        • Thanks Tom. I just contacted each of these companies with a quote request for new sub-meter resolution in a 5 mile radius to the area where the raft was found. Will let everyone know if I’m able to get some imaging of the area.

        • Received this response almost immediately from one of the imaging companies. Sounds like high resolution imaging isn’t felt to be a great option:

          “Hi – thank you for the email.

          We would like to be able to help with this but the chances of imagery helping are 0% as you would not see a person in imagery. I think money would be better spent on higher resolution aerial imagery. You might contact aerial imagery companies based in Arizona, New Mexico and California. They can mobilize quicker and collect higher resolution data.”

          • Response with permission from Los Alamos Geological Society Facebook site, Kent G. Budge. There was a lot of info for him to review at the site quickly so he gave me permission to post this with this comment: “Only if you emphasize how speculative my comment is, and that it should therefore be taken with a pile of salt.” Here is Kent’s response re the area: “From the blog comments and location of the raft, it seems very likely he had decided to explore Arroyo 18. I’m sorry to say I don’t know the area; it’s geologically quite interesting (it is the only location where Cerros del Rio basalt flows sit atop Bandelier Tuff) but it’s also pretty much inaccessible except by raft. There’s nothing in the geology that gives any obvious clues to where he might have come to grief or taken shelter. Well, except that the contact between the Bandelier Tuff and the overlying basalt *might* have some shallow caves and might be a bit unstable. I hasten to add that this is very speculative.”

          • From Richard Kelley, Los Alamos Geological Society member, with his permission to post: “Kent is partially correct, It is a geologically interesting area, but knowledge of the geologic map will probably be of little use, as small features such as caves (or “caveates” as they are called in archaeology) will not typically be shown on a 1:24,000 scale geologic map. The Bandelier Tuff spilled into an existing White Rock Canyon here, and could have many small cave like pockets and cavities. The geologic map for thuis area is the Cochiti Dam quadrangle

          • And a followup comment from Los Alamos Geological Society member Richard Kelley “Yes. I am loading the map now, It’s a large PDF, but I doubt that it will provide any clues. It does seem obvious to me that Arroyo Monotoso, and maybe the large pour-off shown near the GPS coordinates should be searched.”

    • Hello Tom. Tomnod is a company that was used for thousands for the search of the missing Malaysia airliner. This is what I used for a couple searches.

  40. Don’t know if Randy’s vehicle has actually been searched or not. Outside of family, not much information is likely going to be released.

    Facts….. are the key component.

  41. Randys car was parked at Buckman Crossing here


    It’s possible he put in here


    Ancho Canyon is here


    Ancho Canyon rapid starts here


    Frijole Canyon is here


    Nine miles downstream from the Buckman Crossing is here


    • Possibly, but I don’t think the photos match that area. People make mistakes guessing distance.

    • Just spoke with NMSAR for over 30 minutes. They TRULY are doing their best. They have been in contact with SFPD. They await a search warrant for the car. Again, holiday weekend. The search team is baffled! Where could Randy have gone?? There are no mine shafts in that area. They searched the caves. They even spoke with nearby indian reservations who were helpful with the search. They want to get into his car…I suggested breaking into it, since my daughters are next of kin, but against protocol. Do not attempt this Treasure Hunters, it is illegal! Unfortunately. NMSAR needs more info…more clues. Wow. Divers searched the water Buckman to Lake Cochita. Bless their hearts.

  42. Linda,

    The faster you can get us a coordinate of the boat on the East side, the more help we can be. I will do my best with the given information though…

    East side, 9 miles downstream from the car I believe puts his boat here…

    35°43’14.4″N 106°16’18.6″W

    If that is the case, then I believe he was chasing a solution. To save time writing, I’ll simply put in the backside of his possible chase.

    From there, it’s no place for the meek (spiritless). Stream Eighteen (Arroyo Eighteen). He could’ve been thinking of two things here. So many people in the Chase stating 9 clues having double meanings (translating to 18). And Luke 13:11 in the Bible is of a woman possessed by a spirit for 18 years (spiritless reference). If you do a google of 18, spirit, the first is Spiritual meaning of 18 or Angel Numbers. Angel Number 18 refers to a combination of 1-new beginnings and 8-manifesting wealth and confidence. If he were considering the path that goes this way…he would’ve researched 18 in this way. Arroyo Eighteen drops down off of a rough cliff side here…

    35°43’14.4″N 106°16’18.6″W

    If he were below, to him it would make sense, “no paddle up your creek”, “heavy loads and water high”. He may have tried to climb up there.

    As I stated before it all depends if the raft was found at Arroyo Montoso. If so, he may have known he’d have to climb up that steep area and ordered Leo to stay at the raft, and then upon finishing would raft down to the lake southward, finding transportation back to his car.

    Hope this helps in some way.

    • I do now have the exact coordinates. I was told by NMSAR to relay this to Treasure Hunters…Frijoles Canyon which is on the west side, search the riverbank 2/3 mile up and down the river. Also search Alamo Canyon. His raft could have missed a portage. I hope this helps.

      • aaww crap….this is where I thought it was in the very beginning, until people starting talking East Side. He was definately after a solution. I’ll get on it and try to come up with some idea.

        • He parked his raft on the east side. We can not imagine him crossing over the river to the west side. They searched the river. Lake Cochita is basically frozen. Chances are he is not in the river. It’s a mystery!! Supposedly Forest and Parks is responsible for the west side and have been searching also, or keeping an eye out for him.

          • Oh ok….then if he parked it on the East side then that’s where he was searching I believe. Arroyo 18 from my earlier reply, is the most likely spot to look…
            35°43’14.4″N 106°16’18.6″W

          • Iron Will – He MAY have been searching the east side (and I like your solve for that)…but the west side is also possible, as there’s no good way down to the Rio from the west now that Frijoles Canyon is closed off (from flooding). So, maybe the only way he knew to get to the west bank was by putting in from the east bank.

          • Yeah Mel… If Linda is right in saying the raft was parked on the East side of Frijoles Canyon, then I think he was using the East bank to chase down 2 leads. Leaving Leo there, he could hike downstream to arroyo 18 and check it out, and then I believe he might have intended on getting back in the raft and crossing to the west side and hiking up to the lower and upper frijoles falls, and eventually out Bandelier park through public transit back to his car. The raft looks like a cheap 2 man, so it probably weighs all of 12 pounds with the plastic oars. he could’ve deflated it and packed it out. thats just my best guesstimate.

          • I could be wrong, but last I knew, the trail below the Upper Frijoles Falls was not just closed but darn near impassable since the floods (in 2012 & 2014). Bushwacking one’s way up stream would be extremely difficult and time-consuming. Then, to get a ride all the way back and fetch Leo, well the whole round trip would take many hours, like a day maybe. This time of year, I don’t think there’s public transit from Bandelier.

            That GE image of the Rio Frijoles delta gives you an idea of how washed-out the canyon got. All the trails and footbridges were scoured out and gone now.

            So, it does make more sense that he kept to the east side of the Rio Grand.

          • Hello Linda. When Randy went out searching this time, do you or his a friend(s) know if he stayed somewhere in New Mexico or did he go straight down from Broomfield to immediately search?

          • Good afternoon, Linda. Thank you so much for your reply. I’m sure nothing was left behind, nor do I believe he would have said anything to the staff, but who knows. I guess there’s always a slight chance he did.

      • Thanks for the information Linda, this is very helpful.

        Searchers, it looks like there is pretty good access into Frijoles canyon via Agoya Lane from Entrance Rd. Alamo canyon might be a little bit more difficult but it might be possible for treasure hunters to send a drone into Alamo canyon from Frijoles.

        We know SAR has been focusing their efforts east of the river. However, given Randy had a wet suit, I wonder if the water was sufficiently low for him to have made his way across the river and into one of these canyons?

        • Agoya Lane will not give you access to Frijoles Canyon. Those walls are almost sheer vertical. The topography is treacherous.

        • I don’t know if anyone noticed, .65 miles below Frijoles, east side, on the topo is a trail that can be used to exit the canyon.

          • 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.

    • Iron Will,

      For what it’s worth, right in that vicinity, here’s my guestimate based on the images provided above.

      A rough 9 mile comparison of water miles vs how the crow flies. “About 9 miles” isn’t very precise.

      What I think might be the raft area (yellow outline)

      Another angle.

      Keep in mind the water may be lower and more of the sand bar may be exposed than as it appears from google maps and there would be less vegetation. I have hard time believing the satellite imagery on Google maps is updated. The copyright says 2016. But it says that wherever you look on google maps. Plus there’s an awful lot of green on google vs the photos above.

      • I agree with your work and conclusion, With the third picture you can count the trees in the photograph between the black lines and match them up with GE a row of 3-4 trees on a 45deg angle just about a cluster…Nice work. Chopper is in the 10:30 position of the yellow shading. IMO

        • Never hurts to have two independent verifications.

          Like you said, Frijoles Canyon makes sense.

          …And take it in the canyon down, (Frijoles Canyon)
          Not far, but too far to walk. (the raft)
          Put in below the home of Brown. (frijoles – brown beans?)

          From there it’s no place for the meek,
          The end is ever drawing nigh;
          There’ll be no paddle up your creek, (looks like you could call it a dried up creek; no paddle needed)
          Just heavy loads and water high. (all the boulders; “upper Frijoles Falls”)

          If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, (what’s the blaze???)
          Look quickly down, your quest to cease…

      • Hello Martin. Nice observations. I do have a question in regards to the Google Earth/Maps photos and those shown above with the helicopter, river, mountain background. With your thoughts of the sandbar being correct, would you be able to see the sky from the angle like it’s shown above? I don’t know New Mexico, so I’m full of questions at times.

  43. That 9 mile point is really unusual……………They need to search “Arroyo 18”

    Following it’s running up to a road……….

  44. I don’t know the area, and so this may be off beam. If Randy was not an experienced oarsman, he may have found that he could not return upstream against the current. As a result, and due to the difficult terrain, he may have left Leo with the boat and attempted to return to his car (or to get help) on foot. Once he realized he was in a difficult situation, I think that is a more likely scenario than to go missing while actively searching. It might be worthwhile to work out what route Randy might have tried to take to get back to his car or to the nearest inhabited area.

  45. All searchers –

    I want to make it crystal clear that Google Earth has updated their web site and taken new photos to aide in the search. If you go to the coordinates mentioned above – you can now help in the search from your couch – you can see at the bottom of their site that it now says 2016.

    Linda –

    If you give the exact coordinates of the raft – it would also be helpful – just because he parked his car on the east side – does not mean he wasn’t intending to put in – west.

    If it were me – I would be on the phone with the Chief of Police and be asking what is going on and what the delay is about because they really wouldn’t want that sloppy investigation info to hit the papers – would they? If no action – call news agencies.

  46. First, I’m deeply saddened by the mysterious disappearance of Randy.

    Second, I’m praying day and night for him, his family, the searchers, and everyone involved.

    Third, I just wanted to ask if anyone has contacted ALL the hospitals in the area. Not just asking for Randy by name but also any John Doe’s. There could be a multitude of reasons he could have already ended up at one and has not been able to contact anyone. I would think it’s already been done but if not someone needs to get on it and I would not leave it up to authorities.

    That’s all I got for now, stay strong everyone and keep the prayers going up for Randy.

    • Done. I contacted 5 hospitals from Santa Fe to Albuquerque. No one was admitted under Randy Bilyeu, but Albuquerque Presbyterian had about 20 John Does, mostly homeless or intoxicated. She couldn’t check each patient for me. That is quite a stretch from SF to there. She said he would have been taken to UNM, no hits there.

  47. Complete speculation, but we all know the drill. As searchers we have a spot in mind. We stare and stare at Google Earth and find a place we like, only to find it is completely different with boots on the ground, but give it a try anyway. If Randy’s spot was actually in the near vicinity of where he put his raft, this is the Google Earth image that sticks out and I can imagine him wondering about it:

    It might explain why Leo was near the raft. Randy could have tried to climb up there, leaving Leo at the bottom because it was close by.

    Again, complete speculation.

    • I should add that SARs probably looks at the location thinking someone ditched a raft and was trying to get to the highest point in the easiest way possible. It probably doesn’t look anything like this in person. SARs may have been looking for trails or easy routes up.

      That’s not how we think. What normal people see as a trick of light, treasure hunters see as a secret unexplored cave, accessible to us (even though it’s clearly not). When we finally get to the spot and realize it isn’t what we thought, we figure we came all this way, might as well climb up there and see what we can see.

      SARs might have already looked there, I don’t know. My point is that searchers see Google Earth images way before they get there.

  48. In my opinion, most people putting together a treasure solution or trying to hike out would both be on the West side of the river. I realize Leo and the raft were located on the east bank, but perhaps after searching Randy tried to hike out and left Leo with the raft hoping to alert SAR. Can anyone else see anything which would make Randy formulate a solution or hike out on the east side??

    • howdy, My thoughts were , west side. if he mapped it ,which I’m sure he did, civilization would appear west(imo..I don’t know the area.) I thought, if he landed on the east side, may have tried to cross the river with Leo, wound up swimming, Leo made it out went back to the raft. Randy down stream… but in light of the divers searching the river….then maybe he climbed out down stream….

    • My exact thought from the beginning. However, we have one key individual involved in the search who should have direct access to the Gov due to his prominent position in NM. Thousands can respond, hopefully those who can pull strings will do so pronto.

      • One suggestion for contacting public officials would be for someone to post a template of the language they are using. I’m a physician and any time there is a major issue relevant to health care that comes up which requires contacting our local public officials, one of the local medical societies will post some boilerplate language along with email links to those public representatives. Where folks would like to compose their own communications they certainly can, but having a template available lowers the barrier of entry for the masses to generate the type of volume of communications that usually causes public officers to stand up and pay attention to an issue. Would anyone like to share a communication they might have sent as a template for others to modify and use?

  49. The raft and Leo was found on a sandbar. If Randy had walked the shoreline to keep “searching,” wouldn’t SAR have found his footprints in the sand? It would seem to me that he tried to walk up from where he stood. This is an opinion, offered as a thought. What are your thoughts?

  50. Was told by a searcher this…

    His car hasn’t been searched. There are some mine shafts in the area along with caves and lava tubes. They searched those up and downstream from the raft yesterday and will again today. Those are slow going. River was searched and they found nothing. Once his car searched they hope to find out exactly where he was headed.

    • Was told this…

      It’s in police impound now. Probably won’t have a warrant until tomorrow.

      He has no survival training nor much experience with outdoors. Since he left there has been 3-4 mild snow storms in the area and the lowest temp was about 16 deg.

      • Not sure who they are protecting with a warrant ! I’m sure the family gave their permission and under the circumstances they needed to already be in that car!!

        • You are correct, the family has given their permission to search the car…we even told them to bust the windows, but “protocol!” As of 6:07pm est the car has not been searched.

          • This is crazy Linda ! I’m sure you’re very frustrated .
            Did NMSAR tell you if they found any evidence that Randy may have been camping where they found the raft?
            Did they find ANYTHING beside Leo?

          • Linda, have you been able to get in touch with anyone at a higher level in law enforcement? Search and rescue is unclear of where to go next yet it does not seem that even the most basic steps have not been taken by law enforcement to understand what Randy’s plan might have been. I don’t believe a holiday weekend is an acceptable reason for a warrant delay when it comes to a missing persons case. There are time sensitive issues in law enforcement which can get solved any time day or night when the urgency is there and everyone is engaged in the process. Is there an apparent chain of command that can be followed on the law enforcement side of things to get some answers?

  51. In the hopes of being helpful, slim as it may be, I see an ambiguous looking owl at these coordinates. They will point between the eyes. Rotate so north is at 7:00
    35.698739° -106.249764° Not sure if Randy has an owl in this search though.

  52. Nice to see Forrest sitting straight up in his saddle beside Leo and Erin when chips are down for a lost searcher.

    • I agree. I believe he’s trying to do everything humanly possible during this time; one being support for Randy’s family and his adorable companion, Leo.

  53. I’m trying to find out where it is actually documented that his raft and the dog were found on the East side and not the west.

  54. As folks search, on foot, by drone, via satellite, all need to remember this: Randy may have been in Searcher mode OR Survival mode, so searchers need to keep minds open and consider both while looking for him.

  55. @Dal, can we have a page created on this blog for actual locations for SAR to search. They can use it as a check list.

    Maybe short narrative post with degrees and/or pics. This way, they can save time and get to the location data to search. Maybe call it: urgent, where to search for Randy.
    Just an idea….

  56. What do you think guys??

    Is it possible this is the raft……..This is the east side

    35.684251, -106.314290

    Then across the river on the west side this could be Randy walking……

    35.686765, -106.307062

    I’m using Google Satelite.

    • Unfortunately I don’t think Google has updated their imaging in maps. I compared the 2014 imagery through Google earth to the maps satellite imagery which lists “copyright 2016”. I suspect this is just a labeling issue between the two programs and the imaging in both programs is from 2014. Either way, the unanimous feedback I’ve received from the three mapping companies I contacted today about sub-meter resolution imaging is that their best imaging cannot resolve at the level of an individual. I suspect some type of aerial imaging would be the best bet.

      • Agree, no snow on the ground at the location and the bushes are green not winter brown. Definitely old imagery.

      • I agree. Nothing I have seen anywhere in Google Maps or Google Earth show any ice or snow. Which there would be if they just updated it.

        If someone had a plane, they could fly up and down the river taking high megapixel photos and publish them online so everyone can scour through them.

      • BTW, I would encourage anyone that does anything outdoors where anything can happen like this is to get the SPOT GPS locator. Just google “findmespot”
        It’s only $150 bucks, usually less with some sort of rebate. And cost $150 a year plus a little bit more for SAR.

        Not only can you push the button for SAR, but you can also send pings home that you are ok or that you need non-SAR help.

      • 35.806518° -106.188288°
        These coordinates are an approximation of 8.25 miles north of Santa Fe at the river. North a good bit from where the raft is which might be another indication of the raft having overshot his target, or Randy may have had another interpretation for the 8.25 miles north of Santa Fe comment as I believe others may have also.

  57. Here is my SWAG on this.
    If Randy was following the clues PLUS things ff has said, the only place in that area that ff could possible get to twice in an afternoon would be Frijoles falls. And that would only be if ff hid the treasure before the trail was closed in 2011.

    If Randy’s thinking that it was there, then the only way pretty much is by raft.
    If it’s any other place, why wouldn’t Randy just drive to where he thinks ff would have driven to and walked there?

    So, IMO, which doesnt mean much, I would assume he missed the Canyon, landed on the East side and tried to cross over, obviously not taking the dog.
    Either he went in the water and got washed down river crossing over or crossing back, or he got hurt somewhere on the West side making his way to the falls.

    I would figure a close dog would still be with him no matter what if he was somewhere on the East side.

    my 2 cents.

    • Why not carry the dog while crossing? Why not use the raft to cross? What would be his planned exit strategy after this whole float trip? What remains of camping gear have been found, ice chest, food, etc? Does it appear he had nothing or got swamped and lost everything? Was this just a half a day float trip ending up where? How far to walk out to civilization from Frijoles Falls? Makes sense Mark as to why not just drive, the road now closed since 2011. Anyhow, wasn’t going to comment but just to concerned like everyone else.

    • Mark, that’s an interesting hypothesis, but I doubt if Randy would have tried to cross the river without his raft. Why would he do that unless it was damaged or holed in some way (have the authorities checked this?). I’m also assuming the water level’s pretty high right now. That just seems foolhardy in the extreme.

      Thinking about the most likely scenarios:
      1. He pulled in to the east bank to search the immediate area
      2. He pulled in because he felt uncomfortable going any further via raft
      3. He pulled in because he felt unwell or had been hurt in some way

      Once on the sandbank, if he was searching the immediate area and encountered a major problem, he would most likely have been found by now. That means he left the area for some reason – whether to search further afield or to obtain help.

      If he was searching, why did he leave Leo? For some reason it looks like he didn’t want the dog with him. He made sure the raft would not drift away and he left. As above, if he wanted to search the west bank, he would most likely have rafted across with Leo. So, it’s most likely he scaled the cliffs skirting the sandbar – perhaps too difficult for the dog.

      If he was unwell or hurt, and trying to get to a populated area, it would be difficult work, and he may have stopped to rest en route, and then found himself unable to continue. Or he could have stumbled or fallen on the way. Having fallen while searching in a remote area, I know that a broken leg or similar, outside an area of cell coverage, could leave you completely stranded and helpless. That’s why I think the searchers should look to the east and north, away from the river.

      • Looks can be deceiving on rivers. He may have beached there thinking it would be simple to cross, instead of drifting and paddling across, which would put you further downstream.

        I wouldn’t take my dog across just in case I slipped or something, plus if he was expecting to carry the treasure back, you probably couldn’t carry both and don’t want to cross more than once.

        The only reason I could think that the dog would still be with the raft is that Randy left him there crossing the river. Unless you tie up the dog or have a very good trained one, you really cant keep it from following you.

        Hopefully we will find out soon.

      • agree vox, hope they have some luck today. a 4-5 mile radius would not be out of the question.

  58. Rio Grande’s not good drinking water, full of pesticides. An experienced outdoorsman would have enough water or an advanced charcoal water filter system, NASA thermal tarps, foot and hand warmers, various fire starting options, waterproof clothing, headlamp, boots, spare socks and an extremely loud whistle. Did he have enough food for extended stay, a pack and sleeping bag? Did he have health issues and did he have enough meds, if he uses them? Maybe family is aware of this info, which is key in searching for him. S & R also always need to be informed of any known upset in a missing person’s life.

    • That does look like it. If that’s the case, I would say he was trying to get to the falls up Frijole canyon.
      He would have left the dog thinking he would be back in a hour or so.
      But the river became to rough? too cold?
      Someone did say he bought diving gear, i.e. wetsuit?

      • This seems to be what they meant about overshooting a landing. The Frijole Canyon on the west side would have made more sense. One has to consider, however, that he was intending to land here, so… what’s here?

        • My second major solve was lover Frijole falls. When I went to Bandalier last summer I was hoping to make it there but the trail is majorly destroyed.
          I was hoping to go down to the river a little north of it from that parking lot on the west side, but it is in some gov facility with a gate. so a no go there.
          To be honest, the only way down there would be to go over the mountain to the south, go down the canyon and then go north up the river, or raft down, which looks like he did.
          I’m not really sure what his exit plan was except to maybe float way down river to a road?

          I really hope they have searched the Frijole falls area real good.
          If he isnt there, then my next assumption would be to keep looking down stream since most likely, he would have been swept away.

          The other thing that may have happened and only FF would know if it was even possible, is that the treasure was there, he found it and either,
          1) He didnt make it back across the river with that much weight and go swept away with it, or
          2) ran into someone who decided they wanted it more. 🙁

          • Interesting, an exit involving floating to the a road. Perhaps he ended up here during his exit. He went to Frijoles Canyon, then *upon leaving* pulled over on the east side in the first available clearing for some reason (problem with the raft, etc). It is only partially inflated.

          • Hello Jeremy. If Randy had problems with the raft, would the raft be in worse condition that it is, seeing it’s been many days since the time he first inflated it? Would it be possible the partially inflated raft shown above on that date may be a normal deflation per time span? Think of how many times one needs to add air to an air mattress while camping, etc. I guess my thinking is that the raft would have been in worse condition than it’s shown in the photo above if it was due to problems. When I discussed this with my husband last night, he disagreed.

          • @pdenver “If Randy had problems with the raft, would the raft be in worse condition that it is, seeing it’s been many days since the time he first inflated it? Would it be possible the partially inflated raft shown above on that date may be a normal deflation per time span?”

            I don’t want to give false hope, but it is my sincere hope that maybe he was planning to make several days of the trip, and brought winter camping gear.

            He visited his location after rafting (go up river and count the number of rapids he made it through, unharmed). He maybe camped a few days. Upon giving up the treasure search, he got in the raft with Leo and headed down river planning to reach a road (where he’d call a taxi or something to pick him up). Almost immediately he noticed that the raft wasn’t holding air, perhaps damaged a few days before, so he pulls over at the next available clearing, on the east side.

            From there, who knows. Again, my sincere hope that he was camping and brought winter supplies. This scenario only puts him a few days lost because he was camping, properly, the other days.

        • Frijoles would explain Leo near the raft if he didn’t want to risk taking him across the river or was worried about carrying multiple items. That’s a big landing to miss though.

        • Yeah, it makes way more sense that he had already visited his search location (Frijole Canyon) and then ended up on the east side on leaving. Let’s consider those scenarios.

      • I’m now trying to make sense of why Randy would’ve been targeting Frijoles Canyon….it got completely scoured out in 2012, then again in 2014 (even undercut the rock walls). Below the Upper Falls, darn near impassable in places. VERY rough going. How would FF have gotten to such a place – let alone twice in one afternoon? And, how would the chest still be there after such a natural disaster?

        I’m beginning to think Randy was indeed focused on the east bank.

        Another question, not that it matters in locating Randy: Frijoles is only about 4.25 miles or so north of the heart of SFe, the Plaza. Less than 8.

        • I believe FF would have hid the treasure before the trail was closed that went to the lower falls. He could easily make it twice in an afternoon.

          If ff did hide it there, I would assume that after the fire and floods, it would be long gone or covered up. or it was hidden real good in a hole or something.

          Either way, there is no easy way to get there now.

          • I dunno…if the TC was hidden before the fire/floods, the trail was usually crowded with hikers – hard to be secretive about hiding a chest. Plus, the hike down to the lower falls wasn’t too bad, but coming back up could be a real wheezer to do twice in one day for an 80 year old. But you are right, if it was hidden there, it’s either gone, covered over in ash/mud or hidden really really well – with no easy way to get at it now.

            It doesn’t make sense to me that the TC would be in Frijoles canyon, but maybe it made sense to Randy. If so, he couldn’t gotten very far up canyon. It’s very narrow and confined, not much elbow room to get lost in and probably still filled in with snow/ice (tracks should be visible). I’d think SAR would be able to ascertain pretty quickly whether Frijoles is a viable search area or not.

    • Very good topographical ID work.

      There is a possibility that he wished to check out Arroyo Eighteen to the South, and banked the raft there. He then had plans after to cross the river and go up to Bandelier and get a lift back to his car. The boat location is the southernmost he can go and still be able to cross the river to go west up frijoles canyon to the upper and lower falls.

      There are two spots going up that small canyon at Arroyo Montoso. One on the right in google earth…turn your imagary as if you are going into the canyon from the river and you’ll see the big white “blazy” area off to the right about 500 feet in. Sticks out like a sore thumb on Google earth. The other spot is as I spoke before about the water high at Arroyo Eighteen on the side of that cliff.

      • If you read my earlier post re info from the Los Alamos Geological Society long time member Richard Kelley said to check out Arroyo Montoso.

        • Yep I agree completey with that. If I were checking that side of the Rio Grande, it’s where I’d look. If I ever learn how to screen shot google earth, I’d show ya why 😀

      • Iron, agree. Looking up and down the east side of the bank, it looks like Arroyo is the closest exit from the river canyon that does not involve a very steep and precarious scramble. There are definitely a couple of features in there on google earth that stick out as blazes. Here is photo with a couple of them highlighted. I think at least one of these was the one you referred to in your previous message.

        • Thank You threerocks! That’s the White Blaze I was talking about that sticks out like a sore thumb…the one you have the arrow pointing to. See? All of us SAW THAT. If he was looking at all that area on google earth, then I KNOW HE SAW IT TOO. I really think if something happened to him that kept him from coming back to the raft, it happened in there somewhere.

      • Good thinking Iron Will. When I was researching TC I had the thought that WWWH was on the Rio, I think there are 1 or 2 places upstream where special trout waters stop. Canyon down could be considered as going down the canyon carved out by the Rio. Put in below the hatchery, as home of Brown, although I do not know the significance of Buckman road. He could have gone from there considering Diablo Canyon, or perhaps rapids on the Rio, as no place for the meek, the end is ever drawing nigh as being on the left, I believe that would be the east bank. If he was thinking that the creek with no paddle and heavy loads and water high was the rito frijoles, than listen all and hear me good could mean the mouth of the rito frijoles, all of this is IMO only. I don’t know what the blaze in this scenario would be, but the rest of the poem would be the cold and the wood. Maybe we can eliminate the cold because of him traveling in winter, so that may leave the wood. I’ve looked at google earth and google maps and have tried to think what might be considered the wood in this area but I know it is all different in real life. That’s as far as I am able to try and reconnect his path. Sending good thoughts to his family.

      • Thanks, I’m going to say MartinS beat me to it (didn’t see his post above), but glad I was able to confirm it. 🙂

  59. MartinS, I got your post in an email but it seems to be caught in moderation, I agree with your work, you can compare the trees between the black lines in the photo to GE. There are 3-4 trees on a 45deg angle and a cluster just below them, I would say the chopper is siting at the 10:30 position of the yellow shaded area in the third pic. IMO,,,,nice work

  60. Is it possible that Randy attempted to scale the hills/cliffs to the east of Frijoli canyon. There is a BLAZE on this hillside. I have tried plotting how I would go, and there are a couple of BAD spots. Trip figures to be about 2 miles from base of Frijole canyon up and to the right to just below the BLAZE. Has this route been checked by S&R?

    • Judging by the Facebook photos, that’s where at least some of the SAR team went, up the walls to the east.

  61. There is not a lot that makes sense if his raft was really found on that sandbar opposite Frijoles Canyon. If he was headed into that canyon, he would have put in on the west side. If he waded across, he could have carried Leo and he wouldn’t have left him.

    It also doesn’t make sense for him to ascend over 1200 feet to the water tank when he could have approached from above. He could have used that as “water high” and he could have used the electric tower on the opposite ridge as “heavy loads” and intended to look in the canyon between them.

    That canyon would be the easiest to ascend on that side of the river. It would be easy to miss a “put-in” there as the entrance is nearly 180 degrees opposite his direction of travel on the river. That sandbar is the first real area on left once he passed that location.

    There are some steep areas and rock cover that would make it hard to see from the air–but would also afford some protection. It’s about 2 miles to the mouth of that canyon from his raft (based on where they told Linda it was found) so it’s certainly something Leo could manage both ways.

    Picture Link:

    Believe some questions need to be answered:
    1. Were there any dog bowls / food / water left under the raft for Leo?
    2. Was Leo restrained in any way when found?
    3. Was there anything under the raft?
    4. Are those raft location coordinates accurate?

    I truly believe he would not have left his faithful companion behind. There is a path along the water that appears passable (red line). If Randy was hurt in that canyon, Leo could have made his way back to the raft. How thoroughly was that canyon searched? Everything considered, this appears to be the most logical area on that side of the river in my opinion based on the location of his raft.

    I just saw Jeremy’s post which shows the raft as a little farther downstream (thanks Jeremy–was trying to find that angle for over an hour). He may have recognized Frijoles Canyon and that he had gone farther than intended and that was the soonest he could make shore on the east side.

    All of this is opinion; just trying to look at it logically. Geydelkon was headed in that direction and can perhaps investigate. It doesn’t make sense for him to stop there if his intended destination was farther downstream.

    • You cant get there from the west side. That whole area where the water tank is is fenced off. Big Fence. And the whole area on both sides of the road to White Rock are pretty much off limits with cameras watching.
      The Government doesnt like people snooping around their stuff.

      Pretty much the only way to Frijole Canyon is climb down (not likely) from the trail, go way around to the south then north, or raft in from up river. And if you got to the east side, then the only thing to do is swim across or float another half mile down stream to try and get to the other side.

      I would also assume that Frijole canyon would be packed with snow and ice, I cant imagine it getting much sunlight in there to melt anything till late spring or summer.

      • Thanks Mark; I wasn’t suggesting he would approach Frijoles canyon from the west; I meant the west side of the river versus the east side where he landed. The “water tank” and tower I’m referring to is on the east side of the river (see included picture). Is that area part of Sante Fe National Forest?

        • The “water tank” and tower appear to be within Santa Fe county. The water tank actually looks to be a holding cistern, abandoned. Maybe it was built around a spring, now dried up. Common out here. Probably accessible by 4WD from above.

          Iron Will’s very clever idea from earlier today suggested looking up Arroyos Montosa & 18. Searching in that area will put you in Indian Territory – please very respectful of their sovereignty/rules.

      • Sorry, my bad. The West side of the river is fenced. I dont know about the East.
        But if he was going somewhere to the East, why wouldnt he drive?

        • Agreed; which was my second point regarding climbing to the top. He may believe he needs to follow the path as he interpreted it.

    • Sourdough. I was also curious about that “water tank”. Assuming he believed he found a home of Brown and was “putting his raft in” below this he would now possibly be working on stanza 3. That “water tank?” is interesting, it’s about 1/3 mile and 1000 feet up in elevation on the east side of the Rio about 7 miles south of where his car was and 1 1/2 miles from where the raft was found. If I was searchng the area I would want to check this thing out had I seen it on Google Earth beforehand, it doesn’t look like you would just see it from the river, and it doesn’t appear to be easily accessed by car, besides snowy muddy roads in a Nissan Morano, Mark just posted that it is fenced off.

      lat 35.760837
      lon -106.230929


      lat 35° 45′ 38.94″ N
      lon 106° 13′ 51.34″ W

      It is left/nigh of the Rio up a dry creek bed and could possibly be interpreted as “heavy loads and water high”.It doesn’t appear to have water in it and looks like it might be hard to get out of if you accidentally fell in.

      If I found it and believed it was my “heavy loads and water high” I would be looking around for a “blaze” from there. Here are some pics:

      • Agreed; I’m proposing he may not have been trying to get to the tower or the tank–he is just using them as references and that canyon in between is somewhere he may be looking. Frijoles is obviously a strong possibility as well in my opinion.

  62. Linda,
    One more thought….here is the Tomnod request form. Would be great to get them involved because it would allow many non-local searchers to participate and utilize ‘Fenn searcher’ related expertise, but looks like Tomnod prioritizes requests from SAR or others directly involved in searches.…I/viewform

    • DaisyMae –

      This would be great if they would get involved – a superb way to look in a grid like fashion without going over the same thing.

      Linda – I really would ask the SAR team – if they could do this for you.

    • Here’s a new article with SF police trying to say why they didn’t search the car maybe……………. ?

      As of 4 hours ago in the Santa Fe New Mexican.

      Sean Strahon of the Santa Fe Police Department, which initially investigated the disappearance, said Sunday that no one told police Bilyeu was looking for Fenn’s treasure.
      “Nothing was reported to us about why he was out there,” Strahon said. He said his department did not receive any updates on Bilyeu’s status as of Sunday evening.
      But Bilyeu’s ex-wife, Linda, told The New Mexican by e-mail Monday morning that she had told police that her ex-husband was looking for Fenn’s treasure.
      On Friday she told The New Mexican that Bilyeu was looking for Fenn’s much-publicized hidden treasure chest, which Fenn claims contains at least $1 million in gold coins, precious metals, jewels and artifacts.

      • How stupid is that, basic investigative skills would tell you to look for a note. There could be writings that say where he went. How serious is this investigation! One smart person is all it takes. Keeping my fingers crossed for the searchers tommorow.

  63. Hi All,

    I have been meeting with people all day, and we have come up with a few things.

    1. We are going out to look for Randy tomorrow. We are getting a group of treasure hunters together to go out and look.

    2. Forrest arranged for a friend to bring in an airplane tomorrow. We are working out the details on that now. Cynthia has volunteered to ride along and help search for Randy. She will be taking off from Santa Fe tomorrow afternoon. They probably will also have it available on Wednesday, if needed.

    3. Since there are several of us looking, we should meet up in the morning. I have an idea or two about where, but if you are interested, email me directly at cutterconcepts at We will coordinate all efforts so that we can make sure we cover as much ground as possible, without searching the same areas over and over again.

    I know many of you return to work tomorrow, but if you are available, we could use you. If you can’t hike, I am sure we could use some hot chocolate.

    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 WATER! No, 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 and rescue teams either.

    If you have ATVs, handheld radios, vests, drones, or anything else that you think might help find Randy, please email me.

    • God speed ! I wish I could be there to help, unfortunately live in Pa.
      If it’s worth anything, I would start looking on the same side as the raft. I just can’t believe he would cross that river without his dog.

      • Thank you all for searching!! I did get coordinates of where the raft was found…
        about 2/10 miles down from Frijoles Canyon. East side. Right after the first sand bar. Be safe!!

    • Good job Sacha, best of luck and be safe to everyone. There’s got to be a large number of people with there spot in New Mexico, maybe someone with a spot close to his raft can give some great advice, without giving up too much.

  64. Yes, I would be there, too, if I could. Good luck to you all! And I agree with eaglesabound, it makes most sense to start on the east.

  65. Wish I could be there to search for Randy…good luck and I truly hope this issue has closure soon for his family. Stay safe people !

  66. I agree that it’s very perplexing how Leo got separated from Randy. IMHO, the only thing I can imagine, is that they were both in the raft navigating downstream, when they got into trouble, the oar broke and they capsized. Maybe Randy was able to grab and float with the raft to safety while Leo was able to get out at a different location. Randy being soaking wet, would probably have left the raft and gone looking to save his dog Leo. Meanwhile, Leo may have made his own way back to the raft, but couldn’t pick up Randy’s trail because it was wet. Just thoughts, and hoping for a good outcome.

    • Just a thought ,I have a small dog and it’s 50 degrees outside so I dont want my dog to get wet and have the possibility of getting sick. I know the dog will wait till I return. I land my raft on the east side of the river and wade across ,telling the dog to stay. Someone early on said under the water tanks , thats where I would be looking (water high).

      • Lisa, your scenario makes sense for a dog that’s well behaved. The difference between my small dogs and yours, is that mine would never follow the command STAY, and would take off as soon as I turned my back. I guess I better take Mini Minerva and Jackpot to dog school!

  67. Question to all, can Google earth go back to Jan. 4th to see activity in that area? Maybe the boat can be traced.

  68. I have concerns about the distance the boat was found from Randy’s car. How was he planning to get back to his car?

    I have a few possible scenarios that might be worth considering…

    1. He went alone down the river but ended up getting washed down further than he intended. I say that because I don’t see a plan to get back to his car. He certainly was not going to paddle back upstream and nine miles of walking back to the car in that gorge also seems very unlikely. If he decided to jump back in the boat and float downstream…where to ????
    Where would he catch a ride back to his car???
    This is the most illogical part of his search to me. I don’t see a plan to get back to his car..and Randy is a very bright and logical person.

    2. He had a partner. Randy left the partner and his car further downstream somewhere and planned on rafting to him after checking out the site. But if that was the case why didn’t the partner phone the authorities as soon as Randy was overdue?

    3. They left the partner’s car further downstream but the partner was in the boat with Randy so they could look at the site together. If that was the case, both Randy and his partner are missing???

    4. Randy and Leo were in one boat and partner was in another. Partner followed Randy. Something bad occurred. Maybe at the hand of the partner who fled the scene down to his car and took off.

    I am very concerned and it just doesn’t seem logical that Randy would have gone that far down the river on purpose without a plan to get back to his car. It seems like the only solution with a good plan would have involved a partner and a second car…but where is that partner…why hasn’t he/she surfaced???

    The only other possibility is that Randy had no intention of going that far downstream. But something happened. Maybe he underestimated the river’s current. Maybe all he wanted to do was go directly across the river from where his car was parked…but he lost control and where the boat ended up was the first place he could land.

    Be careful out there.

    • Dal, can you please post the coordinates of the raft ? There’s so many coordinates being thrown out there I don’t which ones are right .

        • These coordinates appear to be correct . I’d like to throw my 2 cents in for the search. In so much as I agree with you on what his possible exit strategy might have been , I’d like to focus on where he would go from where he was. Forrest said the paddles were neatly placed so we have to assume Randy put them there and Leo was with him. Now which way did he go? Which way would we go to get back to civilization? Logically thinking, I would try to get back to my car and I would stay along the river in case someone came along in a boat. It doesn’t appears to be a way out of the river due to the steep canyon on both sides. Let’s all try and consider being in his shoes, how would we try to get out?

    • I haven’t read all of the comments pertaining to Randy’s disappearance so this question probably has already been asked and answered. I apologize if it has but has an intensive search been completed around the location of Randy’s car? All we know is that someone put the raft on shore with its oars 9 miles downstream and someone took Leo there but we have no way of knowing if it was Randy.

      • I am asking because probably when the raft was discovered all efforts were re-directed to that area and possibly the area in the vicinity of the car was not searched as thoroughly as it could have been.

    • Ok, what I’ve done is mapped his possible route out on google maps and will try to explain…

      I believe as an out of town searcher, he wanted to get all the possibilities there out of the way. HOB is Frijoles Canyon where the ancient Pueblo Indians used to live. They were called the Brown Story Tellers, and William Henry Brown lived in that area in the late 1800’s taking many of the quality photographs of the pueblo dwellings there at Ritos de los Frijoles. I think he took this as HOB and put in directly below it on the east side.

      He had probably already planned on checking arroyo 18 and just inside arroyo montoso where a white blaze and confusing (cave?) black spot is below it. It’s feasible he wished to park there leave his dog by the raft due to the terrain and being by the river’s edge. He would then hike down the riverbank looking all over the land on the way down for a blaze(just to be thorough). He then had the 1 and 2 circled areas to check. At #2, if he climbed up Arroyo 18 (heavy loads and water high), he might have decided to cross back on upper land to that small draw if the cliff was too dangerous to go back down (the blue dotted line). If he did that, it’s feasible he got lost in the woods up there. I think his end plan was to hike back to the raft (down and back about 3.5 miles total), and then take the raft…. cross over to Frijoles canyon, deflate the raft (about 12 lbs) and pack it out with his dog as he checks the upper and lower falls. He could then come out at Bandolier Ntl Monument, and get public transit of sorts back to White Rock and then get a cab to get him to his car. But problem is, he never made it through the first part of his search to get back to the raft.

      Here is the map with best explanation I can give. If I needed to do a thorough search of all that area, that’s how I’d do it (without a partner that is). …

    • Hi Dal,
      I was thinking about that too, why would he float to such a remote area without an obvious exit. From where the raft is, appears to be a killer hike in any direction. Just thoughts.. comments like obsessed over the treasure( does that mean on the edge of manic?) Police said no survival skills or training? He must have some skills just by living and searching so many areas. Has anybody talked to the friend that finally called his ex wife? As far as a search warrant…in California, on a search… somebody pops the lock and the deputy in charge searches it. I guess NM law is different…good point on partner.. does any body know… or could he have buddied up with someone in the parking lot. ?( My brother goes through a manic episode every few years…. their rational perspective vanishes.) Its very strange to me that there wasn’t any personal belongings left with the raft.

      • I know ppl like this…the rational component of the mind is blinded by the objective. Trust me I’ve literally had to report searchers for dangerous activity, just to keep them from harming self.

    • Dal – see Jamie’s most recent posts today. I hope not, but your theory and her experience might be converging.

  69. Scenario 1 seems very plausible, Dal. Misjudging the current could be a real problem for someone not used to boating. That would certainly explain the “any port in a storm” reason for ending up on an out-of-the-way sandbar. He didn’t expect to be there, and needed to find a way out on foot (unless he had an accident and was swept away – but divers have not spotted anything).

    I hadn’t considered a partner, but for two people to disappear not very far from civilization would be strange.

  70. I was plotting a trail from the place that goes up to Frijoles canyon, right towards where Ancho spring comes down to the river. From the top where there is a road with a loop that comes down towards the river. COME STRAIGHT DOWN. WHAT IS AT THESE COORDINATES 35.768517 106.231495??? I can not tell, but it does not look natural to me. PLEASE HAVE SOMEONE CHECK!!! I had plotted past this point to the BLAZE. When zooming in on my trail I saw this “shape” that does not look like a rock!!

  71. I am perplexed.
    No backpack found?
    No dog food found for Leo?
    I highly doubt Randy would go on a trip knowing they would be away for at least a couple of days without food for both.

    The raft is placed neatly a couple hundred feet from the river with the telescoping oars at the base. One oar is collapsed in. This tells me this spot was his staging area by design or something went wrong & that explains the missing necessities, because if it was a planned staging area they would find the necessities there & they did not to my knowledge.

    When I planned trips to swim in Firehole near Ojo, I made sure I took 2 backpacks with necessities like a towel, extra clothes, lighter, water, food, cell phone, beer (yes that’s a necessity for me) If I brought my pets I would have made sure they would be fed.

    I know he is not the sharpest tool in the shed, but he knows Leo would need food & water considering the trip may stretch past the 4th even considering they may have gone there in the morning.

    You would not place your raft neatly a couple hundred feet away from the river knowing you necessities are floating down stream. Out of the question.

    Would you try to cross the Rio to get to Frijoles with your necessities & Leos necessities? I don’t think so.

    So where did the necessities go?

    Do you think Randy would have gone anywhere there without his Leo?
    I don’t think so.

    My conclusion is that Randy & Leo on the raft started taking water & put them on the East bank 2/10ths of a mile from Frijoles Canyon. The plan may have been to land on the west side where the canyon meets the Rio. They both got wet & cold.
    The supplies were traveling down river where it was only logical to save the raft at this point & place it in a manner for shelter. Randy may have attempted to try & retrieve the supplies to no avail knowing they would need them to survive.

    If Randy was to travel on land anywhere after landing, I am positively sure Leo would follow him anywhere except into water considering your already wet & cold.

    I hope for the best outcome, but my conscience tells me different.

  72. This is the girl from the Santa Fe Map place who posts on my forum…this is her post. Maybe it could be helpful to people here.

    Unfortunately I have to work tomorrow but you can find a Google Earth KMZ of the Santa Fe NF roads here…rdb5203736
    The MVUM (motor vehicle use map) shows which roads you can legally drive on…rdb5412097
    We show 24NB on the MVUM but many of the roads on this map are impassable by vehicles in places. They are NOT maintained. When I hike in this area west of Montoso Peak I usually park at 31 Tank and walk from there. ATV, mountain bikes, or horses are your best bet, but you can see how far you can drive in. I have never walked down 24NBG but as you probably saw you can see it on air photos so it is probably OK for walking. The roads on the Caja get muddy in a hurry so even a little precip will make the road out a nightmare, but it looks relatively dry this week, well 20% chance, but keep that in mind. I’ll be watching for updates.

  73. Dal, it’s the exit strategy that bothers me as well, especially since Randy told family he knew where the chest was.

    If he planned on exiting that terrain with his dog and a 42lb chest.. the only feasible way out I can see would be floating it. But where would he float to? If he is an avid searcher and planner, he must have known trails in Frioles were not navigable, and the canyon walls are extremely steep. It’s also hard for me to imagine his poem solution being on the east side vs the west side of river. It doesn’t add up. Hopefully, someone will be able to access his solution on the computer and look through his Google images. That would answer so much.

    • One thing which might point to him searching on east side is “the end is ever drawing nigh” and some interpretations of this clue as referring to on the “left”. So in that context “end is drawing nigh”=left, “heavy loads”=treasure, “water high”=water tanks on east side of canyon. There are several very prominent marks in Arroyo Montoso that look every bit like a blaze on google earth as Iron Will pointed out earlier and he may have headed in there for a look. I don’t know how thoroughly SAR looked at Arroyo but it might be very helpful to run the whole canyon and the side branches with a drone. As far as exit strategy, he may have planned on floating all the way down to the dam. It looks like there is a big public parking lot on the west side of the lake just before the dam. As to the possibility of a partner I would wonder if there are any abandoned vehicles in that parking lot that may have served as the return route.

      • Sounds right 3rocks, I’ve never been there. I can only speculate through the lense of Google Earth.

        One thing is certain…according to family comments…

        Randy was doing what he loved with his best friend…Exploring a spectacular landscape with a passion as deep and wide as the canyon itself. A rare experience.

    • I agree with Dal, Jake, & 42 on recent posts above. Something just doesn’t add up to some of the situational facts.

      I will try to be quick with this, but I am also referencing info from prior post I made on other original thread.

      -No exit strategy for being that far down stream if original plan, but the raft and Leo were found 9 miles south.
      -Location of raft for searching for chest is clearly questionable on not being greater than 8.25 miles north of Santa Fe (Randy would know this as an avid searcher, right)

      Scenario potential, hopefully doesn’t sound silly, but I think it may be worth the read:

      Randy’s actual plan was to ford by raft or simply access from the ‘known’ put in (car parked) to a place that could be traveled in one day’s time or less (feasibly one afternoon if going direct as in the way Fenn accessed the hidey spot). And he would be able to track back to his vehicle that same day, like a place much closer to White Rock ( 35.823838° -106.175887° ). However, I think that he may have started to get all his stuff out of his raft for travel and once out of the raft, the loss of weight and any wind/current could have pulled away. If he has not utilized a raft before, he may have very well not realized the easy potential of losing the raft back to the river, especially if he did not pull it clearly out of the water all the way, possibly due to not landing on a sandbar and instead slick rocks (for example, see couple pics from google earth at the coords i included.

      So, if the raft with Leo still in it along with the oars and the foot pump kept floating downstream, Randy may have immediately and unrelentingly chased down the banks of the river trying to retrieve his dog. This is a scenario I could see how they could have got separated because I would personally believe he would have done about anything to make sure that dog was with me the entire time i was out there (I am a dog owner myself). I may have forgone rational decisions to some degree to follow that river chasing the raft until i found my dog again, hopefully safely caught up on a sand bar.

      Now, why would the raft be upside down in the banks if Randy did not do it himself? My opinion, the wind may have blown it over there. It is a relatively lightweight raft with a slick bottom. It somewhat appears that it flipped over at the bank and dumped the remaining few items Randy had actually left in it, unfortunately Leo (jumping out to safety after landing), and the oars and foot pump only? Why weren’t the oars placed on top of the raft to weight it down and from being blown if to be stowed or used as a shelter? Why would it be placed into some pointy sticks with potential of rupturing raft (probably moot point)?

      wind speeds and direction would push raft into the east bank from river? Winds in area on:
      1-4-16 = up to 12 mph (SSW) at 9:15AM
      1-7-16 = up to 18 mph (W) at 4 AM
      1-14-16 = up to 28 mph (W / WNW) at 3 PM

      I am not quite sure what to think, but again, just trying to help find Randy. I think Randy was much further upstream from the raft, IMO, and possibly in between White Rock area and the raft. Some things truly just are not adding up.


      • Regarding ‘foot pump’ you can see the foot pump in the picture, it’s the yellow object with blue hose… friend says rafts like these come with minor repair kits but not enough to patch a major rip or tare. This raft if about a 200 dollar raft, either a Sevylor, Quick Silver or Sea Eagle name brands.

  74. Please remember, unless we have a very current satellite image (e.g. Google Earth/Maps), we’ll just see geographical features.

  75. This is just a thought….and sorry if someone already said it…but if I was taking my dog and a boat on a hunt….as I have white water rafting as well…I would park the car and then get a ride UP stream from the vehicle, that way when finished I wouldn’t be dragging a boat and a dog miles back to the car, or if I arranged a ride I assume that would be reported by now…

    My friends that kayak for a living suggested the same- you’d park at the end of the ride, drive way up then raft to the ‘spot’ and then finish floating back down to when the car was waiting….

    Is it possible he made his “stop” and somehow dog and boat floated down stream past the car?? A lightweight boat and tiny dog certainly could have caught the wrong gust of wind an flown through the air and toppled over?

    I don’t know- does anyone know if they looked upstream at ALL? I just can’t comprehend what he would have planned to do 15 miles away from car with a boat and a dog if all went well…(?)

    • This is also what I am struggling to understand as well. I had just finished posting my comment above, like others, something isn’t adding up. And to reiterate, some of the wind speeds included:

      wind speeds and direction would push raft into the east bank from river? Winds in area on:
      1-4-16 = up to 12 mph (SSW) at 9:15AM
      1-7-16 = up to 18 mph (W) at 4 AM
      1-14-16 = up to 28 mph (W / WNW) at 3 PM

      This could be why the raft was up in the bank and not necessarily stowed by Randy, purely speculation. But may give some potential explanation on why he was separated from Leo and the raft if the river nabbed it by water current and wind blowing (12 mph morning of estimated search start).

      • It is very possible that when the helicopter landed it blew the raft to where it is in the picture. Wash from helicopters is pretty intense.

        • From what brief time I’ve had to look at a map, my best guess at a solve and logic leaves me having him leave his car and ‘put in’ kind of by where 502 crosses the rio and stopping to get out near white rock head to mortendad. If he got out and somehow the dog and boat continued without him past car and onto where they were found seems like stuff would make sense at least as far as the clues we have? I don’t know the area to know if it’s even possible for him to keep walking south or if he would, indeed, get stuck. But I can see a completely viable line of thought that would have gotten him there. just a thought and a gut shot of hope in case

          • ** by ‘leave his car’ I mean he intentionally left it way downriver of where he put in with the boat, getting the ride up River to do
            So, and planning to finish the day by getting out where he left his car in the first place. And losing the dog and raft when he stopped and got Out halfway down to search his spot.

        • OK, I haven’t thrown out any WAG’s, so here goes:

          jm, I like your and steve’s idea about the wind.

          But, concerning rotor wash, there appears to be snow/ice and possibly water on the bottom pf the raft. If rotor wash blew the raft to that position, it seems unlikely there would be any snow/ice on it?

          steve, I hadn’t considered your scenario but I have been perplexed about the positioning of the raft, and you’re theory wpuld account for it. Some have suggested it was placed as shelter for one or both of them.

          There appears to be a lot of rocks under the raft. Surely, he would have removed the rocks, before placing the raft there? And the raft definitely could be better placed for a shelter.

          Steve, you are correct. Very much wind at all would send that raft scooting and it may have just washed into one of the channels on that sand/gravel bar. Leo would have jumped out and then it flipped up the bank.

          ** sacha, cynthia….if steve is correct on possible wind speeds, it is entirely possible that no one has searched in the correct area.(I know, this does help in defining where Randy could have gotten out or might be).

          And, if that is snow on the bottom, is there any way to know when it last snowed at that point in the canyon??? That could give somewhat of an idea how long the raft was in that position? **

    • I normally like to shuttle up river if I’m looking for a ride, especially if it’s cold and I want my car at the take out. But in this weather the prospects for a shuttle up river were slim, so you would have to park at the put in and then figure it out later.
      I do have a moped I use for shuttling when back roads are available and it’s good to use because it fits in my truck. I would suggest Randy had a waiting bike or moped, but his dog complicates things and so I can’t understand how he was planning on getting back to his vehicle after he finished the river.
      The only viable scenario is to finish at the lake and have some kind of transportation waiting. I would check the lake area for a moped or other car. (especially if he owned two cars). He might have parked it the day before and set up his shuttle this way.

  76. My theory is that he meant to end up on the other side of the river. He over shot it a bit and ended up on the wrong side. He had to cross. He wouldn’t risk Leo’s life so he left him there with his overly optimistic point of view that he’d be right back(he was just that way with his friend that he’d be fine).

    He had a heavy pack on. He couldn’t leave supplies for Leo there, because Leo would eat them all. He didn’t realize the current under the surface from all the rocks and the water jetting around them. In his unbalanced position he lost his footing and floated.

    I believe the best bet for him to have gotten out would have been Rio Chiquita area as it’s one of the best places where the current actually has to turn sharply. I believe he pulled himself up out of the water…and crawled into the brush to try and keep warm. That is why the rafts haven’t seen him. Could have been in another place as well, but by Google Maps that looks like a good stopping place. Maybe a rafting company could advise where they find those who go over board and travel.

    I believe the cold got him if he’s gone. I believe his plan was to cross, get the treasure…come back….get Leo and head back on the water to the same place I just mentioned I think he could be at. There’s a golf course that doesn’t look far. Otherwise I believe he planned on another “take out”. Remember he had a phone…maybe an external battery as well and planned to hike and call a cab back to his car.

    Maybe if he was that alert to climb out, he some how left a message on his phone or paper to tell us.

    I wish I had met him. Just getting to know him through his family and trying to figure out what happened…he’s a guy I wish I had known.

    • John Brown and Geydelkon were out today together searching. This was what Gey said. He also went by Randy’s car which is still there. Another searcher who works for Santa Fe maps had said that they have cameras where his car is and that maybe they have him on video at some point there. Ok, here’s what Gey said….

      Just a quick update. I made it back to Santa Fe. Even though the weather was fair, still lots of snow in some areas. The ground is getting soft and could become a problem. Had to leave my truck 3 miles back and use the quad to get in. There were signs in the snow of other people in the area and from the looks of it maybe 3 to 5 maybe in a group spread out.

      Here are the coordinates of where I was at. N 35 44′ 46.8 W 106 14′ 59.6″ The area is also heavy with brush, 100 ft at most to view.

      No worries, I had John with me. He seems to know the area very well and has lots of hiking experience from what I can tell. We had to leave around 4:30 before it got dark.

      Hope is strong in all the chasers. Peace

  77. The location at which the raft was found is:

    As reported UTM NAD27: 386252 E, 3956545 N.

    UTM WGS84: 386200 E, 3956760 N.

    DD: 35.7482˚ N, 106.2586˚ W.

    DDM: 35˚ 44.89’ N, 106˚ 15.52’ W.

    DMS: 35˚ 44’ 53.7” N, 106˚ 15’ 31.1” W

    The location is on the east bank of the Rio Grande, 0.4 miles downstream of the intersection center line of Frijoles Canyon with the Rio Grande, and 9.2 miles on the water from the Buckman Road put in. The first remotely viable take out point is a further 6.7 miles downstream, just north of Cochiti Reservoir (which is currently frozen).

    The only items found at the scene were the raft (slight damage, but still inflated and usable), 2 paddles (one with a broken handle), foot pump, and Leo. Leo was not tethered.

    There is a defined trail to the east rim just south of the raft location and accessible from that location, marked with cairns, and visible on Google Earth. It is icy and treacherous in places at this time. The jeep roads to that rim location (a.k.a. Frijoles Canyon Overlook) from Santa Fe across the Caja del Rio (C.R. 62 – F.R. 24) are in bad shape, especially after noon as the surface ice melts.

    Travel up and down river on the east bank from the raft location is limited by terrain and vegetation to roughly a 1 km stretch.

    Lower Frijoles is impassable above the lower falls, and cannot be accessed from the Bandelier Visitor Center.

  78. There are a lot of us who would love to help, but are so far away we feel helpless. So I was thinking of what we could possibly do.

    Then I thought about when I’m out on a search and I wish I had good access to google earth. I may have had some maps and such, but there was always something I’d want to see from a different angle or something. And even though I had a cell signal, I could never get google maps to load without killing my battery.

    So, to any of those who will be searching tomorrow or any time this week, I can be available all day at my desk at work ready to jump on google maps/earth and look around for you while you’re out in the field (if you have cell signals).

    If you’re keen on the idea, shoot me an email and I’ll give you my phone number. readandseekadventures (at) gmail dot com.

    Stay safe and good luck.

  79. They are on the 2012, 2013, and 2014 historical maps as well–appears to be rocks and nothing new.

  80. I hesitate to post this, but it may be a valid thought. Could Randy have found the TC, or talked about knowing its whereabouts, then met with foul play? Car and boat and dog may be staged. That car needs to be examined like a crime scene. I truly hope this is a bad fantasy.

  81. I have been struggling all day on whether or not to post this given that the absolute top priority needs to be concentrated on finding Randy and bringing him home to his family and Leo. My hearts breaks and I am sending prayers to his family and Godspeed to the searchers who WILL find him. As I am a fairly new searcher and have been reading Dal’s blog, I have to say that I am in complete AWE by the love, compassion, encouragement and display of comradery everyone has shown to each other; a kinship that has come together in this time of need.

    As I imagine, each of us are on this beautiful journey for our own particular reasons, sharing thoughts with each other and taking away knowledge that we apply to our own. As I have said, I do not want to take away from the importance that finding Randy needs to be in the forefront, but over the course of the last couple days each of us at some point has probably considered what our own safety measures have been when we have BOTG.

    I did not discover this until late last night, with the help of my husband, and I believe that the solve to the postage stamps in TTOTC are about what time of year to safely search with BOTG. This is only IMO, and others may know this, but I felt strongly enough that this solve is what Mr. Fenn has been telling us searchers, when he asks us to wait until Spring.

    There are 20 postage stamps in TTOTCH, and each one has a day of the week, day of the month, month, and most have a year that is not legible. The days of the week, day of the month, and the years are not important, it is the MONTHS. When put in order, the month(s) and the respective number of times it is listed give the seasons when searching is safest.

    April (2) – snow is melting; May (1) – spring melt and runoff – water will be at high levels and running fast; June (3); July (3); August (3); September (4); October (1) – start of snow fall, lower temperatures; November (1) –snow fall measureable, lower temperatures; December (1) snow fall measureable, lower temperatures.

    The months for January, February, and March (the height of winter) are not listed.

    I am guilty of having BOTG in the height of winter and I do not think that we can all be prepared to the fullest extent possible to deal with the force of Mother Nature and the unexpected things that we could possibly run into. As searchers, are there any thoughts on what can be implemented to help each other (especially those searching alone) to check in? Even leaving a “key lock” under the wheel well with the hiking route? Something….. Any thoughts on a discussion page specifically dedicated to safety, things everyone should keep with them and know how to use, regardless of the time of year? Tips and tricks so speak.

    Again, I struggled with the timing of the post and if I am correct I felt that it was important enough to share. I cannot physically be there to help in the search to bring Randy home safe and sound, but I am sending love, prayers, and hugs to all of the searchers and to Randy’s family.

  82. This is so Sad. I wish I could go and hunt for him right NOW. This really changes things and the whole feeling of magic I had and we all have, about the treasure. Can’t believe the authorities have given up the search! Feeling bad for him.
    So Upset. Still praying!
    Regards, Lou Lee

    • His ex-wife made a Facebook post saying that the head detective was on a three day weekend and she couldn’t talk to them until today- then today she was told they had been following protocol and waiting on a search warrant to be able to get in his car (delays cause of holiday or something) maybe they found somethig in the car? I have no clue if they even searched it yet thought, her post left off with waiting for warrant

      • Well Gee Wizz, How dare a detectives three day weekend get interupted! Right? How do they sleep at night? Not me….I have been tossing and turning for the last few nights. Anyone else feel this way? Someone should of busted into the car to check on any clues. I would of. Seems strange that they did not do this right away.

        • I just commented on the newest post that a searcher saw a map of Frijoles Canyon on the dash board of Randy’s car which was still at the end of Buckman Road this morning. So it’s possible the place where the raft and Leo were found was an intentional camp since it was only 2/10s of a mile downstream from where Frijoles Canyon enters the Rio Grande. With this new news, we will concentrate our search in this area tomorrow.

          • Cynthia, oh wow that sounds like a big clue with a searcher seeing a map in Randy’s car this morning. Where is this recent post that you refer to? Thanks!

  83. What we do know is that Randy loved Leo with all of his heart. Leo has been a loyal companion who worshiped the ground, he (they) walked on.

    Here’s hoping that Leo can start sleeping in the comfort of a ‘real’ home ASAP. (Even get some pampering by being treated to a TLC grooming?) Such a handsome furbaby that one is!

    May God also be with the wonderful searchers as you set out to look for Randy.

    Good people. ‘Real’….. good people.



  84. I’m at a loss for words! 🙁
    Why would they stop looking? How could they give up on him?
    His disappearance does not make any sense to me. So many unanswered questions.
    I continue to send prayers and hope to Randy and those who are able to search for him. Please be safe everyone.

  85. I have personal and professional theories as to what most likely has happened to this unfortunate fellow searcher, but I will keep them to myself and only share my prayers and well wishes, but would also like to help alleviate many peoples frustration with the delayed search of the vehicle…

    In the event that some sort of foul play occurred or befell Randy, and evidence of who is responsible is in the vehicle, with or without family permission and absent the search incident to arrest of the owner and occupant, any search of a vehicle without authority of warrant renders any and all evidence found in that vehicle inadmissible and thus “fruit of the poisonous tree” and a potential bad person who did bad things to Randy would at the very least be dismissed of charges if arrested at all due to illegally obtained evidence and probable cause.

    I know what we all think and what the innate instinct to rescue and help does to our sense of logic and forethought… I do. And believe me, police investigators and patrolmen do as well. As frustrating as it is to feel helpless behind a keyboard it is maddening to feel you are a pane of glass and a piece of paper away from such potentially important information. But picture the worst case, as I began saying, that someone harmed or even killed Randy (over a treasure chest or hot clue for example) and the only way to bring them to justice was blown by a court excluding the only evidence against them because it wasn’t obtained with a warrant.

    Cops are just as frustrated, if not every individual, collectively by majority in these situations. But they can’t afford to react or act from emotion. They have to be professionals and protect the integrity of every aspect and possible outcome when so much is unknown. But everyone’s concern and frustration as friends and searchers and family is COMPLETELY understandable. Just please, try to understand many factors that are at risk and in play have to be considered and handled properly up front as many offer no second chance to error or impatience.

    God bless Randy, his family and all those here that are concerned and I pray that everyone searching is safe and successful in doing so, ultimately bringing Randy home to his car, his dog and his next solve. Take care all and thanks for reading.

    • I understand your concern regarding legal issues in the event of foul play. However that does not explain the unnecessary delay in getting a warrant to search the car. Get some lazy judge’s ass out of bed and get him/ her to sign it. They did that to give my father regarding a ticket when I was a kid for a driving violation to hold a kangaroo court in the middle of the night. Why wait 3 days to get a warrant? Sorry, but there is no excuse for that.

    • We understand the Bureaucracy of governmant paper work… but when someones life hangs in the balance… there is no excuse for a 3 day weekend. Sorry, but Public Payroll means, On Call…

      • Pretty sure a lot of people “on call” are out there… And bureaucracy is created by folks who sue if action is taken, sue if no action is taken, sue if the wrong action is taken and complain about all of the above before, during and/or after… I’m pretty sure all the officials get the seriousness of the situation. Law enforcement is not search and rescue, they investigate and make determinate conclusions about crimes. Sounds like even the volunteer search and rescue (which is what the majority in every area are) is even concluding they need more specific information and direction to proceed and continue using their resources and risking their personnel’s own safety. But every armchair quarterback knows better and nothing is ever done right or well, or fast enough. Procedure isn’t bureaucracy, many times it’s common sense born of past experience. I’m honestly done with this blog. The sense of reason I get from many of these replies and criticisms is the same one that puts folks in these situations to begin with. Get up and go search if you’re so much more compassionate and knowledgable and willing to sacrifice your life to seek and save someone else’s. Good luck all and prayers still for Randy, regardless of the common sense of some of his supporters.

  86. I Dont Know… but as Dal was saying about the river. I think the river looks pretty tame, there is’nt much white water showing in Google earth. And this is with green vegetation in the summer time when water is high. Right now it sholud be running low with winter levels. I dont think he was fighting the current as some believe… and you could reasonably direct your craft in the direction you desire!

    I keep coming back to the photo of the raft and oars. Whatever happened, it started here! If Randy made a decision to hike out, or search with Leo, and then got into some trouble, and became unresponsive, the dog would have responded in a couple of ways. He might stay with his master no matter what. Or, (like they say, my dog act’s like a 3 year old), Leo would get hungry, or confused, and head back the way he came, looking for home, or the the way to it…!

    My gut tells me, he never made it to the solve. But tried to head back to the car, or something relative in this area. Leo is the key to this solve I believe. I would not leave my buddy no matter what was going on, he had someone depending on him to make it to dinner time…

  87. Praying for everyone’s safety tomorrow, and for Randy to be found. Be careful out there.

    With someone seeing a map of the Bandolier area in his car, will they concentrate on Frijoles Canyon area? I hope so, since the East side of River has already been searched by professionals. Randy may have slipped and broken something; he could be partly covered by brush, and hard to see.

  88. New Santa Fe post.

    “I kept telling him wait until the spring,” she said. “He didn’t want to do that. I just thought it was crazy that he was doing it anyway.”

    She said Bilyeu, an avid searcher, was convinced the treasure was inside a log on that stretch of the Rio Grande.

    “I feel like everybody discouraged him to go. But he just had it in his head. He was pretty adamant about it,” she said.

    “In his mind, he said that it’s gotta be on that river. If wasn’t on that river, then he was done looking,” she said in a telephone interview.

  89. Not sure if this has been shared/posted already but it’s very informative: Mentions how the raft was first spotted from the chopper and how Randy and Leo were inseparable, also Randy left his GF a map of where he was going had texted her a pic of himself and Leo in the raft, so he is wearing chest waders not a wet suit….

    • What I mean by spotted from chopper is the chopper didn’t blow it there, it was neatly placed there….anyhow getting late..

    • Randy had a sledding date with Tonya and her daughters on the 7th. Why she didn’t report him missing or contact his family in Orlando is a total mystery. My daughters were texting him often during that time, but no reply. He didn’t tell them he was going because he didn’t want them to worry. Way to go, dad!

      • Linda, this is unbelievable. I read this morning on the blog the article in Santa Fe NewMexican that Tonya was quoted he texted her a photo of himself in the raft wearing waders (no wetsuit)? I read he also sent her a map??? Do we know anything more about this? Did she have your contact info because I doubt she had mine.

          • Good morning Linda. Is it possible to share this photo with the searchers? It may help tremendously. Color of waders, shirt, etc. may be easily spotted than not knowing what colors to look for. I believe Sacha said she would be continue checking the blogs.

        • Ladies, please send whatever info/pictures you have as soon as possible to Sacha, who’s mustering a search party right this minute, due to head out at 9am

  90. Kathy and Linda, I think it would be helpful if you post that picture on the blog as well as the info concerning the map. All clues as to where he may have gone as well as how he was dressed may help the searchers..

  91. With the information given this morning. It looks like Randy went to the river on the 4th and would have stayed no longer than the 6th. Head back to Colorado on the 6th, to attend the sledding date. Get a good meal, shower and sleep. Probably would have gone to Rocky Mountain National Park’s sledding area. It appears Randy would have planned/prepared for a two-day journey at best.

  92. Okay…I know this is probably unrelated and insane to even think…but I gotta ask-
    A little over a week before this happened I know at least myself, and at least 2 two other searchers received random ‘anonymous’ emails from a “dbcooper1973 @ gmail” claiming they knew exactly where the treasure was, wanting us to cease any contact with friends about it until the ‘trip’ was done, head towards That area of NM, leave/pick up cars at specific “locations” and go to stores to purchase specific supplies etc….

    The emails were somewhat laughable and worded as if some power crazed maniac had written them…given the timing and area I can help but wonder if maybe Randy didn’t get similair emails and actually believed them/went?

    Yes a needle in a haystack, but it’s a POSSIBLE maybe it could help someone. Did anyone else get these same emails? Was Randy suddenly especially interested in this area and not allowed to talk about it?

    I doubt it’s related but with a missing person Anything might help…

      • Yeah- they started just before thanksgiving with “tasks” and “assignments” they wanted fuffilled and a bunch of compliments about how smart you were etc. then just before Christmas was the resist you go to mm to make the trip. And a weird itinerary that led up to a motel check in, supply purchase, parking your car and the first part of a 6-10 mile hike. Probably 8-10 emails total. I played along for a bit trying to see what the motive was but it just got too weird. I know of 2 other ppl they were emailing at the same time but not sure they want me to disclose their names…even requests for us not to speak with anyone even our friends until we left and got back…

        • OMG, this could be absolutely critical information. Did you provide this to Dal, ff, and police earlier??? I hope so. An early post said he stayed at Motel 6 on Jan 4th before heading out. Did this detailed instruction list say WHICH motel ppl should stay at? If it suggests Motel 6, that’s a pretty weird indicator. Full disclosure of this info seems essential now.

        • This is sounding creepy, almost sinister. Did the itinerary coincide with Randy’s timeline, ie motel check-in date? There are 3 -4 Motel 6’s in SFe, all on Cerillos. I wonder if anyone has contacted them to see what dates Randy might’ve been there.

        • Jamie, was this specific to FF treasure? Was the email targeting the area Randy went to? How did he get your email? Do Dal and Goofy have a way to track this e-mail?

        • Jamie,

          If you haven’t already provided this information to the PD (Detective unit), it’s imperative you do so. Any others involved as well.

        • Jamie this is even weirder: D. B. Cooper is a media epithet popularly used to refer to an unidentified man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft in the airspace between Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, on November 24, 1971, extorted $200,000 in ransom (equivalent to $1,170,000 in 2016), and parachuted to an uncertain fate. Despite an extensive manhunt and an ongoing FBI investigation, the perpetrator has never been located or positively identified. The case remains the only unsolved air piracy in American aviation history.[1][2][3]

          The suspect purchased his airline ticket using the alias Dan Cooper, but because of a news media miscommunication he became known in popular lore as “D. B. Cooper”. Hundreds of leads have been pursued in the ensuing years, but no conclusive evidence has ever surfaced regarding Cooper’s true identity or whereabouts. Numerous theories of widely varying plausibility have been proposed by experts, reporters, and amateur enthusiasts.[1][4] The discovery of a small cache of ransom bills in 1980 triggered renewed interest but ultimately only deepened the mystery, and the great majority of the ransom remains unrecovered.

          While FBI investigators have stated from the beginning that Cooper probably did not survive his risky jump,[5] the agency maintains an active case file—which has grown to more than 60 volumes[6]—and continues to solicit creative ideas and new leads from the public. “Maybe a hydrologist can use the latest technology to trace the $5,800 in ransom money found in 1980 to where Cooper landed upstream,” suggested Special Agent Larry Carr, leader of the investigation team since 2006. “Or maybe someone just remembers that odd uncle.”[5]

        • What was Randys username on this site? Does anyone know? Maybe Dal can check to see if there is a DBcooper1973 email registered to a user here? That is important info Jamie

  93. We have had high winds. The raft appears blown into the brush. I would surmise that due to the dog and the raft being found together, that Randy got out of the raft at some point while it was still in the water and was unable to regain the raft. The raft continued to drift downstream until it grounded. At somepoint the wind picked up and blew the raft into the brush. The dog, with no where else to go stayed with the raft. Focus your search along the river between the boat and the car. Look for the first place he would have “had” to get out of the raft. Focus on places where he would have to get out of the raft. This could have happend at any point on the river from the first momemt he put the raft into the water,

    Hopefully he will be found soon.


    • Linda just gave me this photo. I’m not seeing one with waders. So that might still be a mystery.


      • That’s the parking lot outside the Big 5 sporting store on Cerillos. Near one of the Motel 6’s….

        • His ex wife Linda said…He was alone. He bought the raft, compass and wet suit.

          So I think it’s nothing more then, he just needs to be found.

          • Thanks for keeping us informed Stephanie.
            The pic of him in chest waders is from September. Was the wetsuit bought at the same time as the boat?
            A wetsuit and chest waders are entirely different. A wetsuit should not give him problems in the water and would help to keep him warm. But if he was wearing the chest waders…that could be trouble.

          • If Randy was proud enough to snap a pic of his newly purchased raft outside the BIg 5, wouldn’t he also have snapped a pic of his brand new wet suit (which they also sell)? Makes me think he figured on using his waders from September. 🙁

          • Apparently it was a wet suit, so that blows my theory of him being in the water. If you look at his glasses there is a reflection as Martin pointed out. I personally believe that is a water tank on the other side of a canyon(it looks like a straight line on top so not a boulder)…possibly Frijoles Canyon…but the water tank photos I see on google earth are a much shorter one. So I believe his water high was water tanks….and he probably was going from water tank to water tank…I wonder if he could have climbed up one and got stuck inside one or fell nearby. I know there are more water tanks all along the river. You can see them on google earth.

          • OK, so we know for a fact he bought the raft at Big 5 in SFe. I wonder if Big 5 could check their sales records to see if Randy also purchased a wetsuit? At least that would give a better chance of rescue vs recovery at this point….just a thought.

            But, in the end, agree with Stephanie. He just needs to be found.

  94. We’re there any signs that he may of had someone else in the vehicle such as dirt or mud on the passenger side floor mats or anything out of the ordinary?

  95. I did notice in the vehicle pic that there was mud on the hood and roof, this obviously suggests he reconned the area (possibly the same area he had photos of across from Frijoles Dec 24th) and then went back for the raft to float down from up stream due to roads being impassable due to warmer weather melting snow and making road too muddy. So floating down might not have been part of his plan but crossing the Rio from east to west was hence the wet suit / waders.


  96. From

    “If you look closely into the quiet pools of water along Frijoles Creek you may see a flash of color as a small fish darts for cover. Non-native fish (Brook, Rainbow, and Brown Trout) were introduced into the stream early in the 20th century and their descendants still live there.”

    Home of Brown?
    End of Rainbow?
    More evidence for Frijoles Canyon as his destination?

    I’m intrigued by his selfie (link posted earlier by Stephanie). Is that his “blaze” in the background?

  97. Forgive if this has already been discussed, but I believe I’ve located where Randy’s third picture was taken. It looks like he was standing on the west side of the Rio Grande, just north of Ancho Canyon which is the canyon to the north of Frijoles. There are a couple of jeep trails off of Rt 4 which take you to that exact location. Also, if you look the reflection in his sunglasses in that image there is a very unique rock formation just adjacent to him which one can also see on google earth in that area at following coordinates: 35degrees 47.030N 106degrees13.423W

    Here is a montage comparing google ground view to picture:

    Here is overhead view showing where I believe the picture was taken:

    • Heya 3Rox – I think you got your arrows mixed up, but I know what you meant. See my post above from 12:53. Randy’s selfie is from the eastern plateau looking west towards Bandelier – the Frijoles delta behind him.

      From the other Search Party on Tuesday Update I posted at 1:17, I offer/copy this:

      Something just struck me..maybe too obvious? That 3rd pic Stephanie sent, the selfie with Montoso over Randy’s left shoulder? Well, if spelled as “Mont Oso”, means Bear Mountain. HOB? Put in below – at the river bank.

      From there who knows if he planned to cross over to the west side or not, but it definitely makes me think he fully intended to be below Montoso and did not plan on hiking up Montoso Canyon. IMO, of course.

      • Melanie, no the arrows are correct. The selfie picture was taken from the west side of the canyon. The other two were taken from the east. Would encourage you to check for yourself in Google earth.

        • Thank you 3Rox. Before posting, I did check GE to make sure my personal recollections were right. My saddle-sore butt and bunioned feet are very familiar with the terrain both eastside plateau and westside hiking, over last 15 years. The geologic landscape on either side of the Rio is markedly different. I could be totally wrong, but based on my real-life experience, I’d have to say Randy took the selfie from the east side. The westside does not afford that type of foreground/background.

          • Melanie, ordinarily I really don’t like getting into a back and forth online as it almost never turns out well. I have no ego in this and only care about getting accurate information out there to aid in the search for Randy. I suspect you feel the same. The images I posted are a precise match and the location they were taken from is as pictured in the shown images. Again I do not like this type of interchange and am not making these statements to try to “win” or to prove you wrong. I know you are coming from a good place and that we all just want to help find Randy and help get some answers for his family. Please take a look at the photographs and the google earth images closely. I think you will find some helpful information there and your BOG insight into the area could be very helpful in sorting this all out.

          • 3Rox, I appreciate your tact. I think my personal experience out there has pre-disposed my POV. I do think you are onto something that I had not focused on, and you’ve shrewdly triangulated Randy’s recent whereabouts. He was criss-crossing! Good detective work.

            I will shut up for the time being.

  98. Here is montage related to the other two pictures. These appear to be looking from the east bank directly into Frijole canyon. Interestingly, all of the pictures have jeep trails that lead right up to the separate vantage points. From these images, I don’t know if he was interested in Frijole or in the un-named canyon on the east side of the river that is across the river from Ancho Canyon and just south of Chino Mesa. It seems like his vantage point looking into Frijole may have been more difficult to get to.

  99. Randy left a map showing where he planned to look. The south edge of that map was at the Red Dot/Blue Dot/Soda Springs Trail which is about 8 miles north of Santa Fe (using the capitol) and 2-3 miles south of Buckman. Forrest said once the treasure is at least 8 miles north of Santa Fe, and in a recent interview he said that Randy;s raft was not 8 miles north of Santa Fe, which you could interpret as Frijoles Canyon area is too far south and has no treasure. I think others have suggested Randy overshot his landing spot and went too far down river. Old topo maps show old trails going up both sides of the canyon in the spot his raft was found. Maybe he thought he’d hike out there or get high enough for cell coverage. Maybe his original plan was to raft 2-3 miles down, search both sides of the river, then leave the raft and hike back to his car on the Soda Springs Trail. That is easily doable in a day. What time did he text the photo of him at Buckman? Rafting 20 miles, searching a couple of hours, paddling across Cochiti Reservoir, then trying to find a ride back all in one short winter day? Seems implausible.

    • Even going a short distance to White rock cross on the west side would seem to far to travel twice in one day. Did they get film of this area?

      • Jeff – I think they did because they wanted to get the harder to reach areas. For reference, we walked about 2.5 miles on the east side today and it took us nearly 3 hours. Granted, this is with a lot of stopping, but it’s definitely not an easy walk.

  100. I’m just now catching up on this. I met Randy, he really was a nice guy. My prayers go out to him and his family. Also thanks to everyone who is helping out with the search, it speaks volumns as to your character.

    • Dal, Randy might have put the raft in the bushes as a shelter for Leo to go under while he went to search for the treasure or climb the canyon to call for help. I don’t think he was planning on going very far from the raft.

  101. Thanks Dal,
    Forrest looks heavy in the heart in that video. Well, there comes a time when you realize you have done the best you could possibly do about this devastating situation. Sometimes it’s best to get back to your daily life routine & let mother nature reveal Randy when she’s ready to, if she wants to…….

  102. Been following dal’s blog for several years now. Searching now and then. Don’t post much but this has been a heartbreaking week. Feeling helpless and so sad. Prayers and love to all. M

  103. Hi All
    I am a long time searcher and non-communicator on the blog. Something I would really recommend to all searchers that travel alone or separately from others is to get a GPS tracking device such as a SPOT Messenger or Delorme InReach. I carry one all the time both on my motorcycle and when I am hiking. This will enable both tracking data to be sent to loved ones and also give you capability to call for help in an emergency. These devices have saved many lives and gives everyone peace of mind. The cost is not excessive either and I know of groups who purchase these and loan them out when participants are out in the wilderness. I use mine to communicate with my wife when I am out of cell phone contact. Well worth the investment as it could save your life or the life of another.

    All my best to you hardy souls – I hope Randy is found Soon.

    Dan from California

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