Madyson Middleton, also known as Maddy, was found dead in a recycling dumpster near her home Monday night, and a 15-year-old boy has been arrested in 8-year-old Maddy’s death. In an emotional news conference on Tuesday morning, Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel said that Madyson “knew the teenage boy” who is suspected of having killed her.
As reported by San Jose Mercury News on July 28, Madyson “Maddy” Middleton was reported missing on Sunday night, and after an intense search by Santa Cruz police, community members and the FBI, the 8-year-old girl’s dead body was found Monday about 7:55 p.m. by a detective in a recycling dumpster in her Northern California apartment complex.
The last time Maddy had been seen alive was while she was out riding her scooter at 5:05 p.m. on Sunday. A video camera captured the little girl enjoying the courtyard of the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz, California. The courtyard is part of the artist community and housing center and is a place where children and adults can enjoy the outdoors. When the little girl’s mom realized that Maddy had vanished from the courtyard around 6 p.m., she reported her missing.
“It appears she was lured to the suspect’s apartment willingly,” said Police Chief Vogel and added that “it’s my belief she was killed before we ever got the phone call Sunday night.”
The suspect, a 15-year-old neighbor boy, was reportedly standing near the dumpster when Maddy’s dead body was found. “We think he might have been watching the search,” Police Chief Vogel said. The teen suspect was taken into custody soon afterward, while his mother was screaming in agony.
Community members living in the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz, California, where Maddy lived with her mother, are shocked. The Tannery Arts Center is a public-private nonprofit project that includes 100 affordable loft apartments for artists and their families, a café, and dance and art studios on eight acres. Madyson is being described as a happy girl who loved riding her scooter. The suspect, her 15-year-old teen neighbor, is a single child, like Madyson, and residents are describing him as “a good boy” who enjoyed skateboarding around the complex or playing with a yo-yo.
The death of Madyson “Maddy” Middleton is still under investigation. However, Police Chief Vogel shared that it seems that the 8-year-old knew the teen boy and that she went into his apartment willingly — lured by something. Evidence suggests that Madyson was killed inside the apartment and that the suspect acted alone. Whether or not Maddy was sexually assaulted is unknown and pending a forensic examination.