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American student who vanished in Siberia 8 days ago is found dead

04 April 2016

Contradictory reports on cause of death as Colin Madsen's remains found in snow in mountainous region of Republic of Buryatia.

Rescuers found the body of a missing 25-year-old student of one of the universities of the city of Irkutsk. Picture: Arigus TV

The body of the 25 year old US citizen was found dead two kilometres from Arshan village where he was staying when he disappeared. Initial local TV reports suggest he had numerous injuries which might indicate murder, but later it was suggested he may have frozen to death. 

'As a result of search activities in the village of Arshan in Buryatia, Tunkinsky district, on the slopes of the mountain range Eastern Sayan, rescuers found the body of a missing 25-year-old student of one of the universities of the city of Irkutsk,' said an official statement from police. The cause of death was 'being investigated'.

Colin Madsen

Colin and Dana Madsen

Earlier Madsen's mother, Dana, had promised to pay 100,000 roubles for any useful information about her son's whereabouts. Picture: Arigus TV, Dana Madsen-Calcutt

The head of Buryatia's search and rescue service Pavel Shubin said: 'He was found by rescuers. Now police is working at the spot. Then the body will be brought down to the village.'

Madsen, from Jefferson City, Missouri, had been studying at a linguistics university in Irkutsk. He was on a vacation with Russian friends - and an American - when he died, it is understood. 

Madsen evidently left his guest house two hours before the group were due to climb local 2,412-metre high Peak of Love (7,913 feet), a mysterious mountain in the Eastern Sayan range in Buryatia, a Buddhist region in southern Siberia, close to Lake Baikal. 

Guest house


Blood traces check inside the guest house

Madsen evidently left his guest house two hours before the group were due to climb local Peak of Love. Pictures: Vlad Rasputin

He had gone out without a coat, wearing a T-shirt in sub zero night temperatures. His documents and money was untouched on his body. 

Among the group with Madsen, were students who had taken drugs the night he vanished, said Arigus TV. Tests will be conducted for alcohol, narcotic or other toxic and poisonous substances. 

Arshan map

Mountains near Arshan

The body of the 25 year old US citizen was found dead two kilometres from Arshan village where he was staying when he disappeared. Pictures: The Siberian Times, @baikal_meridian

Earlier Madsen's mother, Dana, had promised to pay 100,000 roubles for any useful information about her son's whereabouts. Police had earlier quizzed his friends using a polygraph. 

The Russian Investigative Committee last week opened a murder probe into Madsen's disappearance

Comments (16)

There has been an update in this case. A British Press Conference last week was held in London where the parents of Colin Madsen revealed the findings of the US forensic report. It was noted that Colin did not die where his body was found. Also noted was signs of a violent struggle and evidence of being restrained prior to his death. HIs parents appealed to Putin to examine the case and it be reopened as this was an obvious murder.
Missouri Woman, Missouri USA
15/07/2017 02:36
Such a sad tragic story for the Madsen family and friends......this story has sooo many holes in it; somebody is lying. Pray that the good Lord will bring those to justice that needs to be so the family can have closure.
Mona Wood, MO/USA
20/04/2016 04:11
My sympathies to The Madsen family...this is such a horrific deal to go thru. Im still confused as to why they say he left 2 hours before the hike, how do they know he left 2 hours and not 30 minutes or 3 hours.....how do they know this? If he left then those in the house would have known to listen for him to come back in....I pray for healing and truth for the family, I feel so sad for all involved....God Bless.
Missy, Jefferson City USA
19/04/2016 12:36
There are no words to ease this sorrow, not at this time! I know from personal experience! Dana Madsen was my OB- GYN when she was practicing in Kirksville. Dana and family, lean on the many friends that will surround you at this time, talk about Colin and keep the memories that you have alive! Those memories are what will get you through this! Talk to anyone who will listen! My heart goes out to your family! Thoughts and prayers for you and Colin's many friends!!
Sandra Smith, Clarence, Missouri
16/04/2016 21:58
Dear Dana, my Condolences to you and your Family. Om mani pad me hum.
Liubov', Ulan-Ude, Buryatia, Russia
06/04/2016 23:13
I work at the university in Irkutsk and i've heard only good words about the boy. I don't want to think the drug was the reason of this untimely death. Thorough investigation is needed. But any way we will keep good memories of Colin. condolences to his family.
Natalia, Irkutsk
06/04/2016 18:12
the article mentions drugs. they smoke something called "chemia" in that area. its marijuana that has been soaked in some chemical(s). think sherm in the us. also, spice is pretty big as well, and you never know whats in that crap. so, put the two together, and the idea isnt far-fetched that he smoked something, his body got overheated, he went outside to cool off, and since he was high, got lost and kept on going. since its so cold, eventually the cold took over and then there was no coming back.
bob smith, moscow
06/04/2016 15:20
May, Prayers, and Condolences surround this family.
Robert Swain, Novosibirsk, RU
06/04/2016 10:32
This event is horrific and smells of something gone wrong. Why would he leave before his Group? Why would he leave belongings at his Place? I know zero about the area. It does seem strange that he would venture out during a chilling night without implements. Investigation is needed. My Condolences to his Family and Friends. He appears to be a healthy, young, intelligent Man. One has to wonder WHY?!
Mrs. Senior, Osage Beach, MO
06/04/2016 09:49
Colin's mother was my OB-GYN doctor. She was a very sweet and wonderful person. My heart is sad over this terrible tragedy
Chelle Love, Greentop, Missouri USA
05/04/2016 11:17
Just know this young man came from a loving family please pray for the Madsen family
Connie buckallew , USA kirksville Missouri
05/04/2016 05:38
What a sad, sad ending. I really hope they determine what happened. So sorry for his mother, dad, other family members and his friends. I am sure the other friends he was going to hike with are completely bewildered. :(
rose beninger, USA
05/04/2016 04:12
I am so very sorry for the sad news about Colin. I send my prayers and condolences out to Colin's mother and other family and friends. I was praying that he would be found alive. I pray that God will strengthen and comfort during these hours of sorrow.
Carol, Lanham, USA
04/04/2016 21:48
Words cannot express the anguish of losing a child so my heart certainly joins with those holding Colin, his family and friends in theirs. Thank you to everyone involved in the search and also to everyone continuing the criminal investigation. I have no doubt the investigators are already asking this very question but I would very much appreciate understanding why his body was found 2 km away after 8 days................
Pamela Tetarenko, League City, USA
04/04/2016 20:47
Terrible news condolences to the family.
Cathy, South Africa
04/04/2016 17:02

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