The remains of a teenager who went missing seven years ago have been found in the chimney of an abandoned cabin less than a mile from his home.
Colorado officials have said the details surrounding the death of Joshua Vernon Maddux remain a mystery after his remains were discovered last month in Woodland Park.
Teller County Coroner Al Born ruled a cause of death as accidental, and an autopsy revealed there were so signs of physical injuries such as broken bones or gunshot wounds. It appears to have been a ‘voluntary act to gain access’ to the building, he added.
He added: “There was no indication of trauma that we could detect. It was likely accidental because there would be easier ways to commit suicide than climbing down a chimney.”
“There are going to be some questions out there that are unanswerable.”
Toxicology results did not reveal the presence of any drugs.
The teenager’s father, Michel Maddux, said the family has searched for him for years. He was last seen alive on the morning of 8 May, 2008.
He said: “I got up one morning and he was there, then he just never came home.
“We thought he was with friends, but no one had seen him.
“It’s a long-term thing where you’re grieving on hold.”
Chuck Murphy, the owner of the cabin, said it was abandoned but added that mice and chipmunks would occasionally get in and die, leaving a bad smell.
Mr Murphy told The Gazette newspaper the chimney was behind a large piece of furniture.
The remains were discovered when a demolition crew was tearing down the cabin.
Joshua Maddux was identified through dental records and by the missing tip of his right index finger which he lost in a bicycle accident as a child, the coroner said.