The Orion - California State University
FOUL PLAY RULED OUT IN GRAD DEATH
Assistant News Editor
Two horseback riders found the body of a recent Chico State University graduate in the woods east of Cohasset Road. Joshua Strieby, a 25-year-old computer programmer for the United States Thermoelectric Consortium in Chico, had been missing since Feb. 21. Although the cause and circumstances of his death are still being investigated, a March 15 autopsy showed no signs of trauma or foul play, said Jerry Smith, Butte County Sheriff's Office chief deputy coroner. "We don't have the final report yet, but it looks like he died due to exposure," Smith said. Strieby was found lying under a tree with a sweatshirt supporting his head, as if he had just stretched out on the grass to take a nap, Smith said. Smith estimated that Strieby died two weeks before his body was discovered on March 13. Strieby was last seen at a prayer group meeting at Neighborhood Church, where he was a member. Church was really important to him, partially because God spoke to his heart," said Walter Crane, a close friend. While no one knows for certain how Strieby ended up in the woods where he was found, his parents believe he went for a walk after his church meeting. "He loved to be outdoors, not for the sport of it, but because it gave him peace and made him feel closer to God," said his mother, Valerie. Because Strieby scheduled a meeting with a pastor for the next morning, Crane said he believes his friend intended to come home after his walk that night. Strieby graduated from Chico State with honors in spring 2000. He double majored in math and physics. "Josh was a brilliant man," Crane said. "He could have gone anywhere and gotten a high-paying job. But he had cares and concerns for Chico and desired to stay here." For one hour each day, Strieby came to the campus to pray, Crane said. "He cared enough about the community that he gave up his free time to pray for others," he said. Valerie said she remembers her son telling her on several occasions that he believed his prayers helped reduce the amount of crime in the city. Shortly before his disappearance, Strieby shared special moments with members of his immediate family. Memories of those moments give his parents, brother and sister comfort. "Sometimes it just hits you like a wave," Valerie said. "But we feel very grateful for the final memories that we have of him." During his last visit to his family's home in Modesto, Strieby and his 17-year-old sister, Camille, had an all-night talk about their lives and their faith, said his mother. In January, Strieby's 16-year-old brother, Anthony, spent a week with him in Chico. Two days before he was reported missing, Valerie had dinner with her son. "We prayed together just before I left," she said. "Josh asked the Lord to help me know that I had been a good mother and that I had provided him with everything he needed." A memorial service was held Friday for Strieby.
Chico Enterprise 3-17-01
"HE WANTED TO WALK AND PRAY": PARENTS SAY STRIEBY WISHED TO BE AS CLOSE TO GOD AS POSSIBLE
By CHRIS MARTIN - Staff Writer
His parents said their son's love of the mountains illustrated his desire to be as close to God as possible. Joshua Tyrone Strieby, 25, was found dead Tuesday by two horseback riders in the remote Musty Buck area of Cohasset ridge after being reported missing Feb. 21. While nobody knows for sure exactly what happened, Paul and Valerie Strieby believe the oldest of their three children went on a long meditative walk after a meeting at the Neighborhood Church of Chico. "We think there was a number of things that were concerning him, and he liked to take walks and pray," Valerie Strieby said Friday. "He had all sorts of things on his heart." In addition to other family concerns, Valerie Strieby said, Joshua's grandmother passed away two weeks before his disappearance. "I think a lot of things came together that night," she said. "He wanted to walk and pray, and kept walking." His wallet, car and bicycle were all at his East Lassen Avenue apartment. The spring graduate of Chico State University was a double-major in mathematics and physics who showed early on that he would excel in the classroom. "His third-grade teacher approached me and said she thought he was a genius," the proud mother recalled. "It was one of those things where we said what should we do with him?' "Instead of placing him in fast-track classes or programs for gifted students, Joshua remained in traditional classrooms throughout his education. A true measure of the humble nature in which Joshua carried himself was what he didn't tell his family when they came to his college commencement: He was at the top of his class. "We didn't even know he was graduating Cum Laude until graduation day," Valerie Strieby said. "He just brushed it off." Joshua was a computer programmer at United States Thermoelectric Consortium in Chico. Paul and Valerie Strieby hired a private investigator to investigate Joshua's disappearance in conjunction with police in Chico and his native Modesto. Everyone the investigator spoke with said Joshua was "a genuine and full-of-life young man who lived a clean life," Valerie Strieby said. Joshua had recently committed to praying for an hour every day on the Chico State campus, she said, and was always quick to help anyone in need. A friend who underwent back surgery needed someone to look after him, and Joshua stayed by his side for several days, Valerie Strieby said. Paul Strieby said Joshua was "real personable" and that the two had "a tremendous relationship" that he "wouldn't trade for anything in the world." Joshua's father has established a Web site for his son - www.striebylife.com - where people interested in attending a memorial service can check for the day and time. Paul Strieby said he's aiming for March 24. Joshua Strieby left behind a 17-year-old sister, Camille, and a brother, Anthony, who was told of his big brother's death on Wednesday - his 16th birthday. "We feel Josh did not intend for things to go as far as they did,"Paul Strieby said. "We don't really know why he did what he did."Valerie Strieby said Joshua's discontinuing of taking thyroid medication may have been a factor in the disappearance, "or maybe it was his time.""We believe his life was complete," she emphasized. "Yes, it was short and we would have liked him to be with us longer, but in God's economy, we think it was a long life."