Hidden in Plain Sight
No one expects to find a hidden treasure.
Cleaners discovered $7.4 million in gold hidden in Milton Hyde’s home after he passed away. With this much at stake, the Public Administrator needed to be certain that they’d determined heirship correctly, especially when a new claimant appeared.
69-year-old Milton Hyde Jr. passed away in Carson City, Nevada with only $200 in his bank account and an older house worth approximately $150,000. Milton didn’t have any children, and the Public Administrator’s office hired HeirSearch™ to confirm that his paternal first cousin was his sole living relative and heir. The situation seemed relatively straightforward until the real estate agent and cleaners struck gold.
While emptying the house, the cleaners had discovered many boxes. The box labels said “Books,” but contained gold bullion and coins instead. The more the cleaners searched, the more they found. Milton’s house contained an estimated $7.4 million in hidden gold hidden. There were rolls of gold coins in the crawl space and boxes of gold in Milton’s 1968 Ford Mustang. Even the appliances had hidden gold!
With this discovery, the case became substantially more complicated. The story of Milton Hyde Jr. and his rightful heir made both national and international news. With a substantial fortune at stake, the team at HeirSearch needed to do two things. They had to confirm the heirship validity of the paternal first cousin and conduct a maternal search to ensure that there were no heirs on that side.
An unforeseen heirship challenge
The team soon faced an unexpected challenge involving a potential relative in Romania.
The conflict involved a filed petition. It alleged that Marc Van Honthorst, Milton’s maternal grandfather, had fathered a child in 1909 in Kotzman, Romania. Although HeirSearch didn’t find this plausible, we needed a definite answer.
For this petition to be legitimate, Van Honthorst would have needed both time and money on his side. He would have had to travel home on a return ticket within a year of moving to the U.S. A roundtrip like this would have been costly, and given his financial situation, it was highly unlikely. Van Honthorst would also have had to meet the woman, father the child, and return to the US before the birth.
In the end, the court agreed with HeirSearch’s findings. If a child born in 1909 had a father named Marc Van Honthorst, it was a different man with the same name.
Thanks to HeirSearch’s team of expert researchers, the court confirmed Milton Hyde’s paternal first cousin as his sole living heir and awarded her the estimated $7.4 million estate. 100-year-old paternity challenges to heirship are no match for professional forensic genealogy.
Disclaimer: Although accurate in scope, all identifying information such as names, dates and locations have been changed in order to protect the privacy of individuals.
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