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Joshua Maddux and the Chimney Mystery
Joshua Vernon Maddux, 18, from Woodland Park, CO was last seen walking out of his house in May 2008. According to his father, he went missing on May 8 and did not report him missing until May 13th. He was a bright and talented musician who was doing well in school. His remains were found seven years later in 2015. 
Construction workers were getting ready to demolish a decade-long abandoned cabin, on the property called Thunderhead Ranch in Woodland Park, less than a mile from his home. Authorities ruled the case as accidental, but some questions remain largely unanswered. His body was in a somewhat fetal position, with his knees above his head and the legs dislodged. Police suspected he had voluntarily attempted to enter the cabin via the chimney and got stuck as a result. There was a wood insert at the bottom of the chimney, which would not allow a person to climb back up and there was furniture against the chimney causing no way out. Because the body was in a mummified state, authorities say it will be unclear to determine how long the remains have been in the chimney. 
Josh's father mentioned how Josh's older brother, Zachary, had committed suicide 2 years prior to Josh's disappearance. He stated Josh had a troubling time leading up to his disappearance coping with his brother's death. However, he is unsure whether or not that played a role in his death. His sisters hoped he had made a decision to start a new life without notice and hoped he would come back with a family.
The cabin owner, Chuck Murphy, said he makes regular visits to check on the cabin only ever noting a "bad smell" which he assumed were dead rodents.

The two questions people can't seem to answer are: How Maddux died and how he got into that chimney. 

Quote:On Monday, Sept. 28, Teller County Coroner Al Born ruled Maddux’s death an accident, saying the 6-foot-tall, 150-pound teen had slid down the chimney “Santa Claus-style.”

Three days later, Born reopened his investigation after the cabin owner, Colorado Springs builder Chuck Murphy, came forward with details about the chimney that he says makes the accidental death theory impossible.
Born’s re-examination also followed calls to his office from tipsters offering the names of people who allegedly had bragged about killing Maddux in the cabin.

Murphy remains convinced Maddux was murdered, either forced up the chimney alive, trapped there and left to die or he was killed in the cabin and his remains forced through the damper and into the smoke chamber just above the firebox.
Murphy hasn’t wavered from his immediate opinion after his workers made the chilling discovery Aug. 7 as they used an excavator to peel open the chimney, one of two in the century-old cabin.
Murphy, 80, said it was impossible for anyone to slide down the chimney because a “heavy steel mesh grate” was installed near the top of the chimney when it was built 25 years ago.
It was an addition to the original cabin, which was part of “Big Bert” Bergstrom’s notorious Thunderhead dining, drinking and gambling casino that operated from the 1930s-50s along Rampart Range Road on Woodland Park’s north side.
“It was a heavy wire grate, a wire mesh, installed across the chimney about one row of bricks from the top,” Murphy said. “We didn’t want trouble with raccoons and things getting in the chimney.”
Murphy is convinced the mesh remained intact and prevented anyone from sliding down the chimney.
But investigators didn’t see it when they responded to the call of the body because his crew had already tossed it in a truck.
“They were just gathering up all the steel, angle iron and things as part of the demolition,” Murphy said. “They had no idea the mesh had any significance.”
But there are even more disturbing questions, Murphy said, that debunk the chimney theory.
The mystery deepened further when investigators found most of Maddux’s clothing next to the hearth.
“He was mostly naked inside the chimney,” Murphy said.
“He was only wearing his thermal shirt. No pants. No shoes or socks.”
Murphy said it’s ridiculous to think the teen stripped down to just his shirt, climbed up on the roof, up on the chimney and slid down, knowing he’d be trapped.
He said Maddux knew he’d be trapped because there was a steel “Heatilator” insert in the fireplace.
And a large, heavy wooden breakfast bar had been ripped from a wall and dragged from the kitchen and placed across the front of the fireplace, blocking it.
“It’s a real conundrum,” Murphy said. “A tragic, terrible story.
“All I know is he did not go down that chimney. He got in the fireplace and went up. But why? I think it will remain a mystery. One of those sad stories.”,199356

Coroner Al Born did admit he the questions were compelling, but went on with the official accidental death report. Born did state that Josh unlikely suffered from hypothermia because the temperature in Colorado May 8-10th were in the high 20s. He stands firmly that there was no evidence of a homicide, despite the puzzling questions regarding how Josh could have gone up or down a chimney. 

There's also a theory connecting Josh to Andrew "Andy" Newman. A supposed friend of Josh's who went on a murder spree shortly after Josh's disappearance and also bragged about "putting Josh in a hole". It's clearly all hearsay since I didn't find any other mention of Andy by Josh's family or other news articles, here's where I saw the Andy quote.
 The woods are lovely, dark, and deep but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep. 
~*~*~Psych Butterfly~*~*~


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