“We wish Jack the best of luck and hope that the seeking community treats him with the respect he deserves,” Old wrote.
Fenn, who was also a fighter pilot for the US Air Force during the Vietnam War, left clues to finding the treasure in a poem in a memoir titled “The Thrill of the Chase.”
The poem inspired many to go treasure hunting, sometimes getting into precarious situations in the cutthroat countryside of the Rocky Mountains.
Many others needed to be rescued, including a man who rappelled into the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone in winter.
He said the treasure was found in Wyoming in July and he died in September at age 90 without identifying the seeker.
Stuef, meanwhile, initially remained anonymous in a Medium article published in September in which he described finding the treasure, but not specifically how or where.
Monday’s article identified Mr. Stuef as the author.
A court order in a federal lawsuit against Fenn’s estate led Stuef to identify himself with writer Daniel Barbarisi, who had been in contact with Stuef for a book he has been working on.
Barbarisi identified Stuef in an article published Monday in Outside Magazine and wrote that Stuef became obsessed with the treasure after learning of its existence in 2018.
“I think I was a bit embarrassed how obsessed I was with it,” Stuef said, according to Barbarisi’s book.
“If I can’t find it, I’d look like an idiot. And maybe I didn’t want to admit to myself the power he had over me. “
Fenn’s grandson, Old, also cited the lawsuit as a reason to confirm Stuef’s identity.
In the lawsuit, a woman who believed the treasure was hidden in New Mexico claims the seeker was successful in hacking into her text messages and emails, Barbarisi wrote.
Stuef denied the allegations, saying he never knew or heard from the woman prior to the lawsuit and that the treasure was nowhere near New Mexico, Barbarisi wrote.