Body of teen missing since 2008 found in chimney

Joshua Vernon Maddux / Colorado Bureau of Investigation
Joshua Vernon Maddux / Colorado Bureau of Investigation

WOODLAND PARK, Colo. — A body found in the chimney of a Woodland Park, Colorado cabin has been identified as a teen who was reported missing in 2008.

Teller County coroner Al Born said the man was identified as Joshua Vernon Maddux. Maddux was 18 when he was reported missing on May 13, 2008. He was last seen at his home on May 8 of that year.

The coroner said there were no signs of trauma on Maddux’s body. He believes Maddux entered the chimney feet first and got stuck in a lower part of the chimney.

The death has been ruled accidental. The coroner said he didn’t think Maddux intended to die–he just wanted to re-enter the home.

The body was found in August of this year. A crew led by Chuck Murphy was tearing down the cabin for Murphy’s Wildernest development when they found the remains in the chimney.

The Associated Press reports Murphy’s family bought the cabin about 60 years ago. It has been unoccupied for about 10 years. Murphy said his family would check on the empty building to scare away animals and try to find the source of a rancid smell, which he now says was probably the remains.

The coroner’s office used several pieces of evidence to identify Maddux. They said the tip of his right index finger had been amputated as a result of a mishap with a bike chain, and that injury helped identify him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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