A look back at local, national and world events through Deseret News archives.

On June 8, 1978, a jury in Clark County, Nevada, ruled the so-called “Mormon will,” purportedly written by the late billionaire Howard Hughes, was a forgery.

The saga started way back in 1967, and Melvin Dummar, the northern Utah man at the center of the controversy, never changed his story. News archives kept readers abreast of the saga, and Hollywood gave the story a legitimate movie treatment.

Dummar was a gas station operator in Box Elder County, when in 1976 his name was contained in a handwritten will discovered in the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City.

The document became known as the “Mormon Will” because someone had mysteriously dropped it off at the church’s headquarters. The purported will divided the Hughes estate into 16 equal shares, with one share designated for the church itself and another 16th for “Melvin DuMar.”

According to Deseret News reports, Dumar said he found Hughes injured, lying in a remote Nevada desert. Dummar said he drove Hughes to Las Vegas, dropped him off and gave the billionaire a quarter to use a pay phone.

The discovery of the will created shockwaves. Dummar later admitted he delivered the will to the church after his fingerprint was found on the envelope that contained the will. He claimed he got the document from a mysterious stranger who brought it to his gas station.

Dummar said he read the will and didn’t know if it was real or a hoax.

In early 1978, the jury Las Vegas concluded that the will was a hoax.

But many people still believe the man’s story.

Dummar died in 2018.

The movie, “Melvin and Howard,” was released in 1980.

More here:

Dummar still claims Hughes legacy

Utahn Melvin Dummar, who claimed to be a Howard Hughes heir, dies

Ex-aide to Hughes scoffs at will

Dummar may have told truth after all

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We were there: See Deseret News front pages from 45 big moments in Utah, world history