White Sands Missile Range > Public Affairs > Victorio Peak Stories > Part 8 -- 8/7/92 -- The search begins, no success yet

On July 20 the Ova Noss Family Partnership began its search for the celebrated treasure supposedly discovered by Doc Noss in Victorio Peak in 1937. So far, the search has failed to yield any treasure or any real clues on how to access the large chamber the partnership says is under the mountain.

The partnership did fix the road from the missile range´s west boundary to Victorio Peak so they could get their equipment on the site. Unfortunately, not all their equipment is available yet.

They hope to drill bore holes into he peak as far as 400 feet down. The plan is to break into a large cavern which ground radar has reportedly detected. Then they will lower a specially designed probe into the hole. The probe is equipped with lights, a small video camera which feeds live signals to the surface, a range-finder and digital compass. If they are lucky they will confirm the existence of the room and possibly find an easy access to it. If they are really lucky, they will turn on the camera and see a stack of gold bars.

The drilling rig for this operation has been unavailable and may not be until later this month. In the meantime, the partnership expanded their original request and asked for permission to do a metal detector sweep of the area. There intent was to try to find some of the gold bars that Doc Noss supposedly buried the night before he was killed in March 1949.

Tony Jolley visited the site the first day to give the searchers an idea of where to run their metal detectors. Jolley says he helped Noss bury about 100 bars that night. The newspapers have reported that Jolley came back years later and dug up 10 of the golden bars and sold them for $65,000. He indicated they should concentrate on the ridges and flat areas northwest and northeast of Victorio Peak.

Because the area the group searched is right in the middle of the U.S. Cavalry Victorio battle site, all work was observed by an archaeologist representing the Army. Any time they got an indication of a metal object, the spot was marked. Most of the things they found are related to the battle and includes things like rifle cartridges. Later, the missile range may be able to use these locations to help recreate the battle.

If they felt the item might be larger, like a gold bar, it was exposed. No gold bars were found but an anvil was discovered. Also, many shallow holes were found, which led partnership workers to speculate that trespassers, years ago, may have already searched the area.

On July 28, the partnership and the missile range conducted a press briefing at the range´s Countdown Rec Center. Terry Delonas, the general partner for the partnership, briefed on the history of the treasure and what they are doing now. Slides showing computer graphics of the peak and the various cavern and tunnel locations were presented. The $100,000 down hole probe was on display and family members were on hand to talk about their experiences.

Press representatives from the Associated Press, all three television networks and all the local newspapers attended.

Also, during the second week of the search the partnership attempted to open Oren´s tunnel. This opening and tunnel were discovered in the 1950s by Oren Swearingen who made regular visits to the peak when he was stationed at White Sands as a dentist.

The partnership is interested in this particular tunnel because it supposedly has a shaft at its end which Swearingen says has been hand-filled with rocks. The ground radar and computer mapping the group has done since 1990 indicates the shaft leads directly down to the large cavern and supposed treasure room in the peak. They want to look at the shaft and confirm Swearingen´s ideas.

In an attempt to relocate the entrance, workers drilled several bore holes into the tunnel´s estimated locale. They did not have the heavy equipment they needed for the deep holes but they were able to find a lighter unit which could easily sink a 40-foot hole. They say they encountered a void with the appropriate measurements to match the description of Oren´s tunnel.

Originally, they were going to lower the special probe into one of these holes. This would have enabled them to point the camera in the direction the tunnel runs and take a compass bearing. Then they could have drawn a line down the peak to the approximate site of the now covered entrance. Unfortunately, the hole had a bend in it and the probe, which is almost four feet long, could not flex to make the turn.

On July 31, searchers reportedly found what could possibly be a new opening into the peak. Late in the day, Mike Macy and Reed Hester found a small hole and thought he felt air coming out of it. He called others over and they uncovered a few inches of hole and claim there is cool air venting out of it. They plan to investigate and see if it might be their long-sought shortcut into the peak.

---Interlaced with the historical information in these articles are statements of personal opinion by the author, Jim Eckles, which are not necessarily the official position of White Sands Missile Range or the U.S. Army---

This page was last updated on 2/13/2020 3:20 PM