Tommy Thompson was last seen on the deck of a mansion in Florida, barely clothed.
More than 20 years ago, he arrived in Virginia with what has been called the most amazing lost treasure in the history of America: thousands of pounds of gold that had been at the bottom of the ocean for more than 100 years. A ship had sunk during a hurricane, and all of that gold was aboard the ship when it sank. He had recovered it.
Hundreds of people cheered his great treasure find. The victory celebration didn’t last too long though.
For the past couple of years, the U.S. Marshals service has hunted him. He skipped a court date where he was supposed to answer for where the treasure had gone. To go from a conquering hero to a big fugitive on the run is a big transition for the treasure hunter.
A U.S. Marshal said that he thought that the man had been planning an escape for a very long time.
Thompson was obsessed with finding the treasure of the sunken SS Central America. He was an oceanic engineer in Ohio, and he convinced 161 people to invest in his search for the ship, and he raised almost $13 million. In 1988, he found the treasure, and he described it as out of this world.
His happiness quickly faded. 39 insurance companies sued him, claiming they had insured the gold and that the gold was their rightful property. However, in 1996, his company was awarded more than 90% of the treasure, and the rest was divided up among the insurers. Just four years later, his company cleared a cool $50 million.
However, his investors still hadn’t been paid, and a couple of them sued.
The fugitive went into seclusion in a mansion, and then he started acting very strangely bizarre. Eventually, he went on the run.