When police investigate a crime scene, they can often determine the exact sequence of events that led up to the incident based on the evidence. Other times, though, police are baffled because the circumstances are just so bizarre.
In 2008, 18-year-old Joshua Maddux left his Woodland, Colorado, home to enjoy a relaxing stroll around his neighborhood. Little did his family know, that was the last time anyone would see him alive…
Josh never returned home that evening. A few days after he went missing, his parents contacted local authorities. They scoured the town of Woodland and surrounding counties, but every search came up empty.
For seven years, the Maddux family remained hopeful. However, they couldn’t help but feel heartbroken when, just a few blocks from their home, contractors tore down an old cabin and discovered something startling. It would raise more questions than answers…
See, inside the cabin’s chimney were the remains of a corpse. The contractors were horrified, and they immediately contacted police. After a thorough examination by forensic experts, investigators concluded the remains belonged to Josh.
Still, police were baffled at the details surrounding the morbid discovery. Josh’s body was found in the fetal position, and he was nude from the waist down—but the coroner who examined him found no signs of trauma on the body. None of the evidence made any sense.
The coroner’s office ruled Josh’s death “accidental by unknown cause.” It was a disheartening conclusion for the Maddux family. They wanted to know what happened to their son, but they weren’t finding any plausible answers.
From an early age, Josh was an outgoing and unique child who made friends easily and always had a spark of enthusiasm about him. He loved writing stories and playing music, especially the guitar…
Josh was always a respectful boy growing up, and he was never involved with a troublesome crowd. This made his case so much more unsettling. What exactly happened that fateful day he went for a walk?
Josh’s younger brother had taken his own life two years before Josh’s disappearance, and police felt the tragedy may have sparked a change in the young man. It may have weighed heavily on his conscience, and that was why Josh decided to leave and not come home. But, it still didn’t explain everything…
Josh’s sister Ruth was particularly heartbroken. This was the second brother she’d lost in a decade. She and Josh were best friends, and she always admired his charm and unrelenting enthusiasm for life.
One of the family’s biggest questions surrounded the location of Josh’s death. The cabin was very close to the Maddux home. Josh wasn’t found miles away; his body was literally two blocks away from where his family lived.
The cabin was situated on a property known as Thunderhead Ranch. The original owner of the property, a man named Bert Bergstrom, made quite a name for himself while he was its caretaker.
Thunderhead Ranch was infamous for a number of illegal activities, including gambling and wild, alcohol-fueled parties. The property was eventually sold off, and the cabin remained vacant for the last 10 years.
Even the cabin’s sordid history didn’t seem to explain what happened to Josh. The Madduxes spent years scouring the woods near their home, including the Pike National Forest. They wanted nothing more than to find closure, but it constantly eluded them.
After Josh’s remains were discovered in the abandoned cabin, Ruth (right) posted an online tribute to her brother on the Woodland Park website. Despite the mystery of his death, she applauded Josh’s charisma, and she said she was relieved his remains were found.
The Maddux family may have found some peace in the fact that Josh’s remains were finally recovered, but the mystery of his death still lingered—and police have made no headway in solving it.
The cabin’s most recent owner did say that, at least the last several times he visited, an awful smell permeated the air. Still, he figured an animal had died inside. He never suspected it was the body of a missing teenager…
Even though Josh’s death was ruled an accident, the last person he was seen with before he disappeared was a man named Andrew Newman. Andrew had been in trouble with the law most of his adult life, and he was even charged with several counts of murder after Josh disappeared. Unfortunately, no substantial evidence connected him to Josh’s death.
Josh’s family still wanted police investigators to search for clues as to how he ended up in the chimney. Sadly, the case was transferred to the jurisdiction of the coroner’s office, which officially ruled it an accident.
Until new evidence comes to light, the mystery of Josh Maddux’s death still haunts his family. They pray that one day answers will be found. Until then, they can only hold the memories of Josh close to their hearts.
Closure is so important when it comes to cases like this one. Families just want to know what happened to their loved ones, and even if the answer is tragic, at least it’s some kind of resolution. What do you think happened to Josh?