SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF/KCBS) — Two makeshift memorials have already gone up outside the apartment complex where 8-year-old Madyson Middleton body is believed to have been found.

Tuesday morning, the coroner’s office removed the body of a child from a trash bin outside the building “Maddy” lived.

Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel confirmed the body was found in the dumpster at the Tannery Arts Center, located at 1030 River St. on Sunday just after 5 p.m. Monday.

Madyson Middleton (CBS SF)

Madyson Middleton (CBS SF)


“The body discovered appears to be that of a young female, although we have not positively identified the body, we believe that she is Madyson Middleton,” said the chief at a press conference.

Officers arrested a 15-year-old suspect on suspicion of homicide. Detectives were questioning the teen, according to police.

The teen lives at the Tannery Arts Center and was there at the same time as the body was discovered, police said.

Mother of teen arrested in the death of Madyson Middleton. (CBS)

Mother of teen arrested in the death of Madyson Middleton. (CBS)


Neighbors were shocked. One man described him as a well-spoken kid.

“He was one of the sweetest kids we have at the Tannery,” said another man. “We know he didn’t do this.”

Other neighbors told KCBS they were devastated when they got word the community search effort had reached this tragic conclusion.

“This has really hit me really hard. I got 4 grandkids, it’s tough… when they started taping the area off — that’s not a good feeling,” said another woman.

The suspect’s relationship to the victim is not currently known, nor the cause of death, according to police.

(photo by Betty Yu)

(photo by Betty Yu)


Police said they would release more information later Tuesday morning.

Meantime, the pair of memorials to young Maddy continue to grow as neighbors leave flowers, candles, teddy bears and balloons to express their sadness.

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