A Kansas City area sports writer posthumously sparked a local treasure hunt by posting coordinates to a purported stash of gold and silver on the Internet just before committing suicide – but his family and cops says it’s all a hoax.
Martin Manley reportedly shot himself early Thursday morning outside the Overland Park Police Department’s headquarters after allegedly spending months meticulously planning his own death.
But before doing so, the one-time Kansas City Star sports statistician -- who notably invented the NBA’s efficiency rating, which rates a player’s performance -- posted GPS coordinates on his personal website to what he asserted was $200,000 in gold and silver coins he had previously buried at a local arboretum.
According to KCTV 5 in Kansas City, the farewell note set off a circus with numerous local residents showing up to the arboretum with shovels in tow.
The matter became such that local police posted a detail outside the Overland Park Arboretum to prevent eager treasure hunters from illegally digging on city property.
"You have a better chance of winning a prize from the Lotto than you do finding anything out here."
- Sean Reilly, Overland Park spokesman
And officials said cops would be there through the weekend.
Riley Ewing told KCTV 5 he was among those who searched the area to no avail. "I'm going out with empty pockets, but it certainly was fun," said.
Overland Park spokesman Sean Reilly told the station that Manley's family says he gave away or sold the gold coins – and that the whole affair amounts to an elaborate hoax.
"He did not bury it,” Reilly reportedly said before drolly observing, "You have a better chance of winning a prize from the Lotto than you do finding anything out here."
Before shooting himself, Manley reportedly wrote on his website that it was his 60th birthday and that he would kill himself, including the macabre message in numerous posts reminiscing about his life.
Manley reportedly spent months planning his death.
The sports writer said on his website that he purchased $30,000 in gold and pre-1965 silver coins in 1998, but that the stash was now worth approximately $200,000 due to a rapid rise in the market value of the precious metals.
"Martin was a terrific guy and a good employee," Mike Fannin, executive editor of the Kansas City Star, reportedly said. "This is a real shock, just an incredible tragedy. Our hearts and thoughts are with his family today."