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Friend says Eric Ashby disappeared searching for treasure

Ashby Disappearance Friends Share Story

FREMONT COUNTY, Colo. - In an ABC exclusive, we're hearing from one of Eric Ashby's friends, who says he believes the 31-year-old disappeared while searching for hidden treasure.

Ashby was last seen June 28 along the Arkansas River rafting with four friends. A witness reported a raft flipping over and everyone swimming to shore except for one person. No one in the raft reported the incident to authorities. Ashby's family later notified authorities and reported his disappearance.

Dave Gambrell wasn't rafting with Ashby when the incident happened but is one of his good friends and spoke with ABC News.

"Something happened down there that day, and we just want answers," Gambrell said.

He went on to say Ashby had moved to Colorado just to search for $2 million worth of gold and jewels supposedly hidden in the Rocky Mountains. He reportedly was one of many treasure-seekers using clues mapped out in a cryptic 2010 poem by New Mexico art dealer and collector Forrest Fenn.

"I guarantee you when someone finds that chest they are going to be shocked," Fenn said in a 2013 interview.

Ashby's sister, Lisa Albritton told ABC news, "Something sinister happened that day at the river and I am looking for justice for my brother."

On Friday, the Fremont County Sheriff's Office made the discovery of human remains 15 miles downstream from where Ashby went missing. However, authorities haven't identified the victim or gender of the body.

RELATED: Human remains found in AR River near Florence

The members of the group rafting with Ashby that afternoon have not been charged with any crime.
  
Fenn's promise of riches are blamed in at least two deaths. Pastor Paris Wallace and Randy Bilyeau were both found dead in New Mexico after searching for that chest filled with gold and jewels. New Mexico authorities spoke out in June after Wallace's death, asking Fenn to put an end to this mystery before anyone else gets hurt.
  
"I want Mr. Fenn to retrieve the treasure or call off the hunt after he retrieves the treasure," New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said.

Fenn told ABC news Saturday night, "I compiled a list of suggestions that will make people safer when they go into the mountains."


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