Joshua Maddux has been missing for seven years, and over that time, his family was left to wonder what happened to him.
Had he simply taken off and was still out there, perfectly fine? Had he been so bereft over the recent death of his brother that he'd acted desperately? Or had something else totally unforeseen taken place?
In the end, this last possibility proved out — and the facts are almost too bizarre to be believed.
Maddux died after getting stuck in the chimney of an abandoned cabin not far from his Woodland Park home. His remains weren't found until this summer and have only just been identified.
The cold-cases post on the Colorado.gov website describes the circumstances of Maddux's disappearance like so:
18 year old Joshua Maddux was last seen at his home on the morning of May 8, 2008. When his Mother returned home later that morning Joshua was gone. One year prior, Joshua's brother died and the two were very close. He may now be bald. Anyone with information is asked to please contact the Woodland Park Police Department.
An article in the Pikes Peak Courier provides more details.
In the piece, Mike Maddux, Joshua's father, describes his son as a brilliant young man who was shattered by the death of his brother, who took his life the week of his high school graduation.
Then, Mike went on, “I went to work one day and came home and he wasn’t there,” Mike Maddux said. “The next day he still didn’t come home. I called all his friends. Nobody’s seen him. Nobody knows where he is. I didn’t know what to do so I called the police."
Foul play wasn't suspected. The likeliest scenario was that Joshua had simply run away, and since he was eighteen at the time, he was legally an adult, making such a decision perfectly fine from a legal standpoint.
Years passed without any news. But then, on August 7 of this year, an old, abandoned cabin that had reportedly been moved from a Thunderhead Ranch lot for development purposes was being dismantled — and construction workers found a body inside the chimney.
The remains were examined, and this week, the Teller County coroner's office announced that they'd been positively identified as Maddux.
According to 9News, coroner Al Born describes Maddux as a "tall, skinny kid" who was probably trying to climb down the chimney in order to gain access to the cabin when he got stuck.
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The discovery has given Maddux's loved ones some closure, as is seen noted the following KRDO piece — but knowing the truth hardly lessens the loss. Our condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of Joshua Maddux.