Disturbing Details About The Case Of Joshua Maddux, The Teen Found In A Chimney

On May 8, 2008, 18-year-old Joshua Maddux told his sister that he was going to go for a walk as he left their home in Woodland Park, Colorado. It was one of the things he enjoyed doing, as he loved the outdoors and often went hiking. In addition, it wasn't uncommon for him to wander off alone. According to the podcast "Criminal," he didn't return home that night, but his family wasn't alarmed; Maddux would sometimes spend a night in the woods, and he knew how to take care of himself. It was five days after he left when his family started to worry. His father reported him missing to the authorities on May 13.

As reported by The Huffington Post, family members and friends searched in nearby areas to try and locate the missing teen or find clues about what happened to him. The search didn't yield results. Seven years later, his skeletal remains were discovered in the chimney of an abandoned home in the woods. The discovery led to more questions about what really happened to the teen.

Joshua Maddux's background

Joshua Maddux was an intelligent and talented boy who was beloved by his peers. His sister, Kate, told The Huffington Post that her brother had a high IQ and spent his free time honing his guitar skills or writing stories. He was easygoing, friendly, and had a distinctive style. He used a briefcase, wore a top hat, and kept his hair long. When Maddux went missing, his family thought that it was possible he left town to pursue a career in music.

Two years prior to his disappearance, Joshua's older brother, Zachary, died by suicide at 18 years old. Naturally, the death was devastating to the family. Authorities interviewed family members to check if there was a possibility of suicide as well, but Joshua was said to be in a happy disposition before he went missing, and he had no history of any mental illness (via Criminal).

The discovery of Joshua Maddux's body

In August 2015, contractors were tearing down a cabin in the woods at Woodland Park when they discovered mummified remains in the chimney. According to the Denver Post, the home was owned by Chuck Murphy and it had been abandoned since around 2005. The old cabin was being torn down to make room for a housing development, according to Huff Post. That's when the remains were found. Authorities and a coroner immediately went to the scene to do an investigation. The body was identified as Joshua Maddux via dental records.

As reported by The Daily Mail, the body had its knees positioned above the head. The most likely explanation was that he was trying to get into the cabin through the chimney head first and got wedged inside. The chimney's opening was blocked with furniture inside the house, and once he had his entire body in the narrow opening, it was impossible to get out from where he entered. There were no signs of foul play found on the body, and coroner Al Born said that Maddux most likely died of hypothermia while stuck in the chimney (per Pikes Peak Courier).

Chuck Murphy believes it wasn't an accident

The Maddux family was devastated upon learning that Joshua was the one found in the chimney. For years, they hoped he was living his life as a musician somewhere, and the discovery was completely unexpected. In addition, the abandoned cabin where he was found was just a little more than a mile away from their home, as noted by The Daily Mail. Regardless of the circumstances, the family was thankful that they were finally able to lay Joshua to rest.

Despite the coroner's official report, Chuck Murphy believes that Maddux's death wasn't accidental. One of his reasons for believing so was that Maddux was discovered wearing only a thermal shirt. The rest of his clothes and shoes were found beside the fireplace, according to Pikes Peak Courier. It was difficult to fathom why Maddux would shed his clothes, go out of the cabin, and enter through the chimney — if that's what happened. Authorities said that they looked at the possibility of foul play but found no evidence that the death was a homicide. There were a couple of suspects investigated in relation to Maddux's death, but no evidence was found. The circumstances surrounding his death remain a mystery.