SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — Police shared details leading up to the death of 8-year-old Madyson “Maddy” Middleton, and the subsequent arrest of a 15-year-old neighbor charged with her murder, at a press conference Tuesday morning.
“She was lured to the suspect’s apartment willingly,” said Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel. “We determined she was murdered inside the apartment. She was then carried downstairs and put in the recycle bin.”
A detective found the girl’s body inside a recycle bin on the first floor of the Tannery Arts Center, around 5 p.m. Monday. She and the suspect both lived the complex.
The girl was first reported missing on Sunday, at 6:08 p.m. Police now believe she had already died by then.
“It is my belief she was killed even before we got the phone call on Sunday night,” said Vogel.
Police said after the suspect was taken into custody, he was interviewed for several hours and subsequently arrested.
Vogel said the 15-year-old was an acquaintance of the victim, and a search of his apartment has turned up evidence that linked him to the crime.
“She knew him, she had a reasonable amount of trust,” he said. “We don’t believe she was taken there against her will.”
Santa Cruz County District Attorney Jeffrey Rosell said the teenage suspect could be charged as an adult.
“Based on the information we have at this point, there do appear to be charges that can be filed as an adult,” said Rosell.
It is not known if the suspect has a history of mental illness. He is being held at a juvenile facility in Santa Cruz.
Police are awaiting an autopsy to know the exact cause of death.