Joshua Vernon Maddux was found deceased on August 6, 2015 in Woodland Park. He had been reported missing in 2008.
His family and friends will hold a celebration of his life and a memorial service at 11:00 am Saturday, October 17, 2015 at the Woodland Park Community Church. His paternal uncle Reverend P. David Randall of Ainsworth, Nebraska will conduct the service.
Joshua was born on 9th March, 1990 in Colorado Springs to Michel Albert and Roberta (Bertye) Lee Schmehr Maddux and was a life-long resident of Colorado. He was the fourth child and the youngest son.
After being home-schooled through the first two grades, he attended the Woodland Park school system through high school.
He was a gifted intelligent young man and placed high in scholastic testing. A great sense of humor and wit, writer, and artist, he had many close friends. He invented a comic strip which he called Stickman and Smiley and spent many hours developing the strips and sharing them. Also nicknamed Dwa by his sisters Josh had a thoughtful, kind, and loving personality. He was baptized in the Christian faith.
Joshua left behind his grandmother: Carol Maddux of Manhattan, Kansas, his parents Michel Albert Maddux and Roberta Lee Schmehr Maddux, two sisters, Kathryn Michelle and Ruth Marie, niece Liora Veronika and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
By ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORTER
PUBLISHED: 12:28 EST, 30 September 2015 | UPDATED: 15:57 EST, 30 September 2015
Joshua Maddux, 18, who vanished in May 2008
The remains of 18-year-old man reported missing seven years ago were found in the chimney of an abandoned cabin less than a mile from his home - but the details of his death are likely to stay mysterious - Colorado officials said Wednesday.
The body of Joshua Vernon Maddux was discovered last month when contractors tore down the historic cabin - on a property called Thunderhead Ranch - in Woodland Park, Teller County. It had been empty for more than a decade.
Authorities had to use dental records to identify the remains as those of Maddux, who was reported missing in May 2008 but not as a runaway.
Maddux - who was tall and skinny - was probably trying to shimmy down the chimney when he got stuck, Teller County Coroner Al Born said.
There was a wood-burning insert in the chimney that, had someone climbed in from above, they wouldn't have been able to crawl back up, according to The Gazette.
The construction workers who found the body said a large piece of furniture was blocking the fireplace, so Maddux would not have been able to access the chimney from there - or to have exit it from there.
Maddux's death was ruled accidental, and there were no signs of trauma, Born said.
It appears to have been a 'voluntary act to gain access' to the building, he added.
However, it is unclear how long Maddux's remains had been in the chimney. 'There are going to be some questions out there that are unanswerable,' Born admitted.
Family members say Josh was bright, a talented musician and doing well in school, and they are not sure why he was at the cabin.
According to the Pikes Peak Courier, his older brother, Zachary, had killed himself two years before Josh went missing.
Police suspect the slender Maddux (pictured in family photos) had tried to climb down the chimney of the abandoned cabin when he became stuck. His body had been there for seven years
Their father Mike, who spoke to the Courier after Josh's body was found but not yet identified, said: 'I got up one morning and (Josh) was there, then he just never came home.
'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. He went missing on May 8 and I called police May 13, 2008.'
It is not known if Zachary's death had any bearing on Josh's disappearance.
Mr Maddux, who has two daughters, Kate and Ruth, said: 'I buried his older brother two years before and it was so difficult on Josh. When his brother died, it pushed him over the edge. It was a big shock for the family and a big shock for Josh. He thought highly of his older brother.
'It’s tough as a parent. You try to raise your kids and when they get close to 18, you think they’re pretty much grown up, but they’re not. They still need a lot of help.'
He said the family had searched for Josh for years. Because he was 18 at the time he vanished, police said there was no reason to suspect a crime, so he was listed as missing.
Josh's sister Kate posted an online tribute to her brother after his body was identified. She wrote on the News of Woodland Park website: 'Sometimes in life, our stories don’t have happy endings. I’m sorry to say that this is one of those stories…
Since Josh was 18, it has been reasonable to assume he may have decided to leave town to start a new life. As one of his two older sisters, I have always chosen to believe that this was the case.
I have expected Josh to return home to my father’s house at any time with a wife and small children so that they can meet their grandparents and two aunts.
Josh has always been known for his musical and literary talent, so maybe we would find him playing music with a band on tour, or catch him writing successful novels under a pen name so that he could keep his preferred lifestyle of solitude in the woods.
The cabin's owner, Chuck Murphy, said his parents bought it 60 years ago and his brother had lived there but it had been empty for at least ten years. He is turning the site into 32 single-family homes
She then explains the circumstances in which his body was found and adds: 'This is certainly not the outcome that the Maddux family and my brother Josh’s many friends and loved ones were hoping for. We are however eternally grateful for the opportunity to finally provide Josh with the proper memorial service he deserves and to finally lay Josh to rest.'
Meanwhile his other sister Ruth wrote: 'He was my best friend and he always inspired me to strive for greatness. Josh would tell me that one should never say anything bad about anyone else, ever, and I tried to be more like him.
'Josh was one of the nicest people I have ever met, and I am very proud to be his sister.”
The cabin's owner, Chuck Murphy, told The Gazette that his parents had bought the property 60 years ago. It was formerly a homestead of the Thunderhead Ranch, which was infamous for illegal gambling and wild parties.
Murphy's brother used to live there before it was turned into a rental property, said Chuck. No one had lived there for at least ten years, he added.
He said he occasionally checked on the property and had noticed a bad smell but thought rodents had died in there. He did not think to check the chimney because of the piece of furniture blocking the fireplace.
Murphy, who owns Murphy Constructors, is redeveloping the site into 32 single-family homes. The cabin was fully demolished after police finished their investigation into Maddux's death.∼Joshua Vernon Maddux was 18 when he went missing from Woodland Park, Co. in 2008. His sister thought he may have decided to go off on his own and they never heard from him again, but his dad didn't think so.
“He was such a wonderful boy,” Mike Maddox told the Pikes Peak Colorado Courier. “The kindest, nicest, brightest boy. He’s been gone seven years now. Nobody’s ever heard a word.”
On Aug. 7, 2015, a cabin that had been moved from a lot on Thunderhead Ranch and was being torn down surprised a group of construction workers when they found a body inside the chimney. The cabin once a homestead of the Thunderhead Ranch famous for illegal gambling years ago had belonged to the Murphy family for 60 years, and they decided to demolish it to begin construction on new homes, reports The Gazette. They had no idea that there was anyone inside the chimney.
The Teller County Coroner Al Born announced today that through dental records they identified the body as belonging to Joshua Maddux.
It is believed that Maddux who was tall and skinny tried to go down the chimney and got stuck because there was a wood-burning insert in the fireplace of the cabin that made it impossible to get out of the the chimney at the bottom and he wasn't able to crawl back up.
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