SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — A teenage suspect has been taken into custody after the body of a young female was found in a dumpster following a night of searching for an 8-year-old girl who went missing Sunday evening.

The body was found around 7:55 p.m. in a dumpster behind the Tannery Arts Center at 1030 River St., according to Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel, who called the discovery horrible and heartbreaking.

“At 7:55 p.m., detectives discovered the body of a young female in a dumpster. We believe that she is probably Madyson Middleton,” Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel said during a press conference.

No other details were available about the suspect.  Police could not yet confirm that the body was that of Madyson Middleton.

The 15-year-old suspect was arrested, and was being questioned by police.

Police say the teen lived in the complex, and was present at approximately the same time as the body was discovered, Vogel said, but the sole suspect’s relationship to the victim is not currently known.

When reporters asked if the clothing on the victim matched the clothing Madyson was wearing when last seen Sunday evening, Vogel stated that it’s too soon to be certain.

“The way the body is situated in the dumpster where she was located, it’s difficult to tell what the clothing looks like from our vantage point right now,” Vogel said.

He added that investigators are in a “holding pattern” while they prepare to process the crime scene.
The Department of Justice is assisting in the investigation, according to Vogel, and police are planning to release more information sometime Tuesday morning.

Neighbors were shocked by the teen’s arrest.

“From what I know, he’s very well spoken, and has a very kind manner.  So like I said, it’s just a shocking situation altogether,” one neighbor told KPIX 5’s Betty Yu.

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