Joshua Maddux was last seen on May 8, 2008, at his home in Colorado, according to a case report.
His father, Mike, told Pikes Peak Courier that he checked around after the teenager disappeared— made calls to his son’s friends, and to the police. But Maddux had vanished.
“For a long time, every time the phone would ring I expected it to be the morgue or police,” Mike Maddux told the newspaper. “Once they found a body in New Mexico and thought it might be him. You just play a waiting game. You have an empty chair at the table and an empty place in your heart.”
Seven years have passed since Mike Maddux’s 18-year-old son went missing. This week, though, officials told reporters that the teen’s remains had been located in the chimney of a cabin, which was abandoned and not far his Woodland Park home.
“He was such a wonderful boy,” Mike Maddux told the Courier, in an interview that took place before the remains had been identified. “The kindest, nicest, brightest boy.”
The Associated Press reported that Joshua Maddux’s remains were discovered in August, during the cabin’s demolition. Officials analyzed teeth, and also used a “finger bone deformity,” clothing, gender and estimated physical size to make the positive identification, Teller County Coroner Al Born told The Washington Post in an email.
Born said that there were no signs of trauma on the bones, like fractures or knife marks. In a Colorado Springs Gazette report, Born suggested that Maddux might have been trying to get into the cabin via the chimney, and simply got stuck.
“There was no indication of trauma that we could detect,” Born told Reuters. “It was likely accidental because there would be easier ways to commit suicide than climbing down a chimney.”
He told The Post that the official cause of death is “undetermined.”
“It’s not what we wanted, obviously, we wanted him to come home,” Ruth Maddux, Joshua Maddux’s sister, told KRDO. “But at least now we can stop looking.”