A seven-year-old mystery came to a chilling conclusion when the Teller County Coroner's Office identified human remains found in the chimney of a Woodland Park cabin as Joshua Vernon Maddux.
The decomposed remains of Maddux, who would have turned 25 in March, were found Aug. 7 at the Wildernest development near Rampart Range and Kelley's roads when a cabin was being torn down. Maddux went missing in May 2008.
Teller County Coroner Al Born said Tuesday morning after a news conference to announce the findings that dental records were used to determine that the body was Maddux. He said there was no sign of foul play or trauma to the body.
"It appears to have been voluntary act to gain access" to the building, Born said.
According to Born, Maddux was a "tall, skinny kid" and was likely trying to shimmy down the chimney and apparently got stuck. Born said there was a wood-burning insert in the fireplace of the cabin that made it impossible to get through the chimney at the bottom.
The cabin is no longer on the lot, part of a development planned for 32 single-family homes. Born said the death investigation was completed before workers were given the go-ahead to continue demolition.
Chuck Murphy, the owner of Murphy Constructors, told The Gazette in August that the cabin was purchased 60 years ago by his parents. Murphy said he would go into the cabin periodically to check on things, noting that "It smelled bad."
The cabin was a homestead of the Thunderhead Ranch once famous for illegal gambling and wild times. Murphy said his brother lived in the home for years before it was turned into a rental and went vacant at least 10 years ago.
An article written by Kate Maddux, who said she is Joshua's sister, was posted Friday at the News of Woodland Park website. It described Joshua Maddux as a "highly intelligent, kind, creative person" and a talented musician.
In the write-up, Kate Maddux said "Since Josh was 18 (when he went missing), it has been reasonable to assume he may have decided to leave town to start a new life."
"I have always chosen to believe that this was the case," Kate Maddux wrote. "I have expected Josh to return home to my father's house at any time."
A memorial service will be held for Maddux at 11 a.m. Oct. 17 at Woodland Park Community Church, 800 Valley View Dr.