WOODLAND PARK, Colo., Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Investigators in Colorado said skeletal remains found inside the chimney of an abandoned cabin were those of Joshua Maddux, an 18-year-old who went missing seven years ago.
The teen's remains were found Aug. 7 during the demolition of a cabin in Woodland Park. The Teller County Coroner's Office identified them by sifting through dental records and working with a forensic odontologist.
Coroner Al Born said there was no sign of foul play or trauma to the body, meaning Maddux likely attempted to enter the cabin by trying to slide down the chimney. Born said Maddux, who was of tall and skinny build, likely got stuck due to a wood-burning insert in the fireplace, which barred him from exiting below.
The owner of the now-demolished cabin, Chuck Murphy, told The Gazette his parents had bought the cabin 60 years ago and his periodic visits to the cabin revealed a foul odor. The building sat vacant for 10 years.
Upon learning Maddux's remains were found in the chimney, the teen's sister Ruth told KRDO her brother was likely looking for a place to hang out and chose the cabin. She said she feels the circumstances of his death are "very weird" but that the identification of his remains provides the family "some closure" and the ability to provide Maddux "the proper burial that he deserves."
Ruth and her father, Mike, said the loss of Joshua is hard for the family to bear and that he was an kind person.
They also said that Joshua liked to travel, which is why they thought he was seeking independence when he walked out of the house at 18 and did not come back. His niece, Liora, said the family never gave up looking for him.