Jefferson City hiker found dead in Siberia after 8-day search
COLUMBIA - Reports out of Siberia Monday morning suggest police have found a missing 25-year-old hiker dead. The Siberian Times reports authorities found Colin Madsen, of Jefferson City, just two kilometers from where he went missing March 27.
The newspaper cites TV reports that indicate Madsen was found with "numerous" injures which could be consistent with murder, but later reports suggest he may have froze to death.
While the cause of his death is still unclear, family is mourning after an intensive eight day search in remote southern Siberia. Madsen's mother arrived in Siberia late last week to assist in the search.
A statement released by Madsen's stepfather on behalf of the family Monday, said:
"We are saddened to share that Colin has passed away in the Arshan region of Sibera. We have no details as yet, but wanted to share this most heartbreaking of news directly with Colin's global village of family and friends. As we seek reason in this tragic loss, we can only take consolation that his beautiful spirit, which touched each and every one of us, will be forever with us."
Marina Waggoner, a friend Madsen met in Russia who KOMU 8 News interviewed about his disappearance said Monday:
"All I can say is that Colin was so darn sweet and caring. He had an adventurous spirit and was genuintely interested in knowing about others. He would ask questions about others and get to know them to the point that they would forget to ask him about himself. He mad you feel listened to."
Madsen went missing in subzero temperatures March 27 after friends said he went on a walk in the dark at 3 a.m. They reported it was not unlike Madsen to venture out on his own.
"On the one hand, it seems kind of like him, for him to just leave like that, but I don't know, just a lot of things are off," friend Lucas Fagre said.
Friday though, what began as a missing person's investigation, turned into a murder investigation after authorities said "several established facts" suggested a crime may have been committed against Madsen.
Madsen, who attended Helias High School and later, Jefferson City High School and studied at Columbia College, was studying at Irkutsk State Linguistic University in Siberia.
The video below from German TV station, Ruptly TV shows the search area and an interview with Madsen's mother, Dana Caclutt prior to the discovery of Madsen's body.
[Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a statement from Madsen's family.]