Eighteen-year-old Joshua Maddux grew up in the small city of Woodland Park, Colorado. Pikes Peak, one of nearby Colorado Springs most famous sights, can be seen from town and offers lots of sightseeing and outdoor recreation. Josh was a free-spirited type of guy who loved the outdoors, so it was nothing out of the ordinary when he told his sister he was going for a walk on May 8th, 2008.
However, when Josh didn’t return by nightfall, his family was worried. At first, they thought maybe he was with friends. When he hadn’t returned by May 13th, his father filed a missing person report.
Josh’s parents were divorced, and he lived with his father, Mike, and sisters Kate and Ruth. Josh’s older brother, Zachary, had committed suicide two years earlier, at age eighteen.
Josh took this particularly hard, but at the time of his disappearance, he seemed happy. Josh was well known and liked by everyone. He was a good kid. Yet, his family thought maybe Josh had decided to leave town and start a new life playing music, one of his passions. They checked campgrounds and homeless shelters for any sign of Josh. Extensive searches were done, but it seemed Josh had simply vanished.
Fast forward to 2015. Chuck Murphy owned a cabin less than a mile from the Maddox family home.
The cabin had been abandoned since 2005 when Murphy’s brother moved out. Since then, Chuck had used the run-down home for storage and checked in periodically on the property. In 2015, he was in the process of tearing down the cabin when construction crews discovered a mummified body in the chimney.
Police were dispatched, and through dental records, they determined the body was, in fact, Josh.
He was found inside the chimney in the fetal position with his knees above his head. His legs had become displaced from his torso.
The Teller county coroner found no trauma or drugs in Josh’s system and declared his death an accident. The coroner believed the slender teen tried to gain access to the cabin by going down the chimney and got stuck.
Because of the property’s isolated location, no one would’ve heard Josh’s pleas for help.
Unfortunately, it was a slow death; he most likely died from hypothermia or dehydration.
Chuck Murphy had a few things to say about this conclusion. He stated the chimney was built 20 years old ago, and the top was fitted with steel rebar to prevent animals and debris from entering. This would have made it impossible for Josh to climb into the chimney.
Three days later, the coroner reopened the case.
There were a few things that didn’t make sense to anyone.
- Someone had ripped a big wooden breakfast bar off the wall and placed it in front of the fireplace. -Josh was discovered in the fetal position with his legs above his head. For this to happen, he would've had to enter the chimney head first, which seems unlikely. -Josh died wearing only a thin thermal shirt. His clothes, socks, and shoes were found neatly folded next to the fireplace... Inside the house. Nothing about this makes any sense. Why would a half- naked man try to squeeze down a chimney?
A Reddit post in 2015 brought up a suspect named Andy. The author of the post stated he knew Josh and Andy and that the two hung out. According to this post, Andy had told people he put Josh in a hole. Andy turned out to be Andrew Newman, who has an impressive criminal record.
He was arrested in 2009 for fatally stabbing a disabled man in New Mexico. He also admitted to killing a woman and stuffing her body in a barrel in Tao. The police already had someone in custody for the woman’s murder, so detectives disregarded Andrew’s confession.. To date, Andrew has been in and out of prison and mental institutions multiple times.
Despite numerous tips regarding Andy’s involvement, Josh’s death was again ruled an accident.
There are no scenarios that make sense as to why Josh ended up in the chimney and his clothes in the cabin. This case leaves many questions unanswered. Questions even law enforcement can’t answer.