Human remains found inside a Colorado cabin's chimney have been identified as a local teen who went missing seven years ago, authorities said.
It appears that Joshua Vernon Maddux, 18, died accidentally, the Associated Press reported. He was identified with dental records after his body was found last month by contractors tearing down the cabin in Woodland Park, Colorado, which had been abandoned for about a decade.
The 6 foot tall, 150-pound teen was last seen in May 2008 at his home, about a mile away from the cabin. He went for a walk and was never seen again, his family said. A missing person report noted that his brother had died the year before.
Despite the lapse of time, however, his older sisters and other family members had held out hope that Maddux had simply left town to start a new life somewhere else, they wrote in the News of Woodland Park.
Authorities did not immediately release an official cause or time of death.
Kate Maddux wrote that her brother was a talented musician, cartoonist, and writer.
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. Given the strange circumstances, it may be a miracle that Josh has finally been found.
The Teller County Coroner on Tuesday said it appeared Maddux had been trying to get into the cabin by climbing through the chimney, the Gazette reported. There were no signs of trauma or foul play, officials said.
The family is raising money to cover costs of a memorial service, as well as to donate to charities that work to find missing people.
Claudia Koerner is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Claudia Koerner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.