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John Wayne Bobbitt’s search for Fenn treasure makes news

SANTA FE – The search for Forrest Fenn’s treasure, already a national phenomenon, is getting even more of a boost as the national media focuses anew on the infamous Lorena Bobbitt/John Wayne Bobbitt case from the 1990s.

What’s the connection?

It turns out that John Wayne Bobbitt has become a serious hunter for the chest that Fenn, a Santa Fe author and antiquities dealer, says he’s hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountain region with gold coins and other valuables inside. Bobbitt thinks the treasure is in Colorado.

In 1993, the Bobbitts, living then in Virginia, became national figures and set off a debate over domestic violence and marital rape when Lorena used a kitchen knife to cut off her husband’s penis, then drove away from their home and threw it out of the car. The appendage was found and re-attached.

John Wayne Bobbitt was subsequently acquitted of rape. Lorena Bobbitt was charged with malicious wounding but was found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity.

ABC’s news series “20/20” revisited the case last week with a show called “Love Hurts.” In February, Amazon Prime Video will premiere a new documentary series about the case called “Lorena” produced by Jordan Peele, the comedian turned film director who made the hit movie “Get Out.”

At the end of the “20/20” show, John Wayne Bobbitt is described as becoming so dedicated to finding Fenn’s loot that he considers himself a “professional treasure hunter.” Fenn announced in a 2010 memoir “The Thrill of the Chase” that he had hidden the treasure and included a poem said to include clues as to its whereabouts.

In the ABC segment, Bobbitt shows off a “Thrill of the Chase” map. He says he might know where the treasure is and that he has “a lot of good clues, really.”

The show also makes reference to Bobbitt’s hope that finding the treasure will earn him a trip to the White House, reported in August in a Vanity Fair magazine article. “And though he still makes the occasional paid appearance,” the magazine reported, “the majority of his time is devoted to searching for the treasure chest that eccentric millionaire Forrest Fenn is rumored to have buried in the Rockies. He hopes to be invited to the White House if he unearths it so he can express his support of President Trump.”

Word of Bobbitt’s passion for Fenn’s treasure hunt is also spreading via smaller media outlets.

Also in August, Bobbitt appeared on an Albuquerque-based web blog called “A Gypsy’s Kiss” that focuses on the Fenn treasure. He told interviewer Toby Younis that the channel inspired him to join the hunt. Bobbitt displayed cell phone video of a waterfall near where he believed he would find the treasure in Ouray County, Colo., and said he’s made 10 ground searches for the chest.

Bobbitt said he’s met Fenn once. Younis suggests it was at an event at Santa Fe’s Collected Works bookstore, which publishes Fenn’s books.

Bobbitt complained that the interviews he gives about his notorious 1990s case are edited, so it’s hard for him to get out “the truth.” Younis then offered to come to Las Vegas, Nev., where Bobbitt now lives, for an extended, unedited interview. “None of it will end up on the cutting room floor,” says Younis, seemingly unaware that he’s come up with a pretty good punchline. Bobbitt starts laughing and tells someone off camera, “He just made a joke.”

“Oh, sorry,” said Younis.

The weekly Durango (Colo.) Telegraph reported that a man identifying himself as Bobbitt came into a local shop looking for a grappling hook and said he was looking for Fenn’s treasure.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly named the newspaper that reported Bobbitt was seen in Durango. It has been corrected above.