California authorities say a missing 8-year-old girl found dead in a dumpster on Monday was lured to her death by a 15-year-old boy she knew.
On Wednesday, police announced 15-year-old Adrian Gonzalez was charged with murder, sexual assault and kidnapping in the death of 8-year-old Madyson “Maddy” Middleton. He has been charged as an adult, police said.
The girl’s body was discovered just before 8 p.m. Monday. A Santa Cruz Police detective found the body at the bottom of a large dumpster-sized recycle bin on the ground floor of the Tannery Arts Center complex, where Madyson and the suspect lived.
“The suspect had gone to great lengths to conceal the body. Madyson’s body was concealed and disguised inside the recycle bin in a way where it was not obvious or readily apparent,” Santa Cruz police said.
The investigation into Madyson’s disappearance began Sunday evening when she was reported missing just after 6 p.m. Surveillance video at the apartment complex captured the last known image of the girl alive around 4:12 p.m. as she was playing on her white scooter.
At a news conference Tuesday, police said evidence suggests that Madyson was killed before she was reported missing to police.
A 15-year-old boy, who lives in the apartment complex with his family, was arrested on a murder charge.
“The suspect was actually standing near the location when Madyson’s body was discovered,” authorities said.
“Evidence suggests that Madyson was lured to the suspect’s apartment willingly. Additionally, we have determined that Madyson was murdered inside of the suspect’s apartment and eventually carried downstairs to the recycle bin and concealed within the bin,” police added.
Authorities say the suspect acted alone and that evidence including Madyson’s belongings, witness statements, and video, links him to the “horrific” crime.
An autopsy is pending to determine the official cause and manner of death.
Gonzalez is currently in custody at the Santa Cruz County Juvenile Detention Facility.
Found at HLN TV