Josh grew up in a normal household with his parents Will and Tiff, but in his teenage years, he began developing anger issues and started punching holes in the walls with his bare fists. His parents could not put up with his anger and sent him to the Somerville Military Academy to teach him discipline, hoping it would help him control his anger. While at the academy, Josh met and befriended Bailey Shelton, a fellow student who was constantly bullied and stuck in laundry driers by a student named Tucker Calhoun. One day, when Tucker put Bailey in a dryer, Josh witnessed this and attacked Tucker while the academy's leader, Colonel Ron Massey watched, not bothering to put a stop to it. Shortly thereafter, Bailey committed suicide, leaving his father, Chris, devastated. Josh later brought Chris his son's belongings, not knowing that Massey would later convince him that Josh was responsible for Bailey's suicide. Sometime after that, a survival trip was scheduled and Josh didn't have enough points to go, but he was allowed to still attend by Lieutenant Shockley Tawes, one of the academy's supervisors. One night, a vengeful Chris arrived and killed five of the six cadets present, including Tucker, hanging them in the same way Bailey committed suicide to make it look like a mass suicide; he even carved "We're sorry" onto a log that was under one of the victims. Still not satisfied, Chris went after Josh, who had witnessed the entire thing and escaped.
Tawes later finds the corpses of the cadets and the BAU was called in. They initially assume Josh to be the unsub, but after talking to Massey, Tawes, and some of the cadets about the victims and Bailey's suicide, the team finds the link between Bailey, Josh, and Tucker and realize that Josh was actually an intended victim. After discovering Chris's corpse in a Viet Cong-style trap that was built by Josh to defend himself, the BAU set out to find him. However, Massey orders Tawes to find Josh before the BAU does and murder him. Tawes eventually finds Josh, who tries to escape using his truck, but he drags him out and the two fight; Tawes eventually overpowers Josh and attempts to kill him, but the BAU arrive and stop him from doing so. Later, Morgan steps into Massey's office and arrests him for the helping in the murders of the students. Because of Josh's role over Chris's death that was ruled as self-defense, Josh was allowed to walk free. Massey and Tawes are put in a police cruiser, with Josh saluting them before it drives away.