Maddy Middleton’s body has been found.
Madyson Middleton, an 8-year-old girl from Santa Cruz who most people knew as Maddy, was last seen on Sunday afternoon as she waited for her friend to come play. She was outside pushing her brand new white scooter while wearing a purple dress and a black helmet before she vanished from her home at Tannery Arts Center, where she lives with her mother Laura Jordan. It was at around 5:00 p.m. on Sunday that her mother realized she was gone.
“I thought she was in the courtyard. I thought she was in the bathroom, checked the art bar, then I started to going to every friend’s house,” Jordan, 42, recalled. “Maybe she got bored waiting for her play date, maybe she found another friend. But we had no luck.”
The entire Santa Cruz community seemed to step up and help with the search efforts, scouring the area for any signs of the little girl. Hundreds of volunteers poured in to search the surrounding neighborhoods, as police officers shared Maddy’s pictures to help those identify her. The search continued into Monday, and on Monday night, the search came to a tragic end.
Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel said that a detective discovered a body in the dumpster at a Santa Cruz artist community and housing center, according to the Associated Press, reported via MSN. While it remains unconfirmed, the authorities have said the tiny body most likely belongs to Maddy.
Vogel spoke during a late-night news conference on Monday, July 27, giving an update to the search for the little girl.
Broken-hearted & disappointed, SCPD has concluded the search for Madyson Middleton. Now Homicide Investigation. #SantaCruzPolice
— Santa Cruz Police (@SantaCruzPolice) July 28, 2015
“This is extraordinarily heartbreaking news I’m about to give to you,” Vogel said. “This evening at approximately 7:55 p.m. … our detectives discovered the body of a young female inside of a dumpster at the complex located behind me.”
“We haven’t positively identified her yet but we believe she is probably Madyson Middleton,” he added.
“While the Coroner’s Office will be responsible to confirm the identity, we are absolutely heartbroken to announce that the body appears to be that of 8-year-old Madyson Middleton,” the Santa Cruz Police Department said in a separate statement, according to USA Today.
Jordan and police officers scanned the surveillance videos, which last caught sight of Maddy at 4:12 p.m, trying to determine her last moments before she vanished.
“I can’t explain how difficult this is,” Jordan said earlier on Monday.
The missing person’s case is now being investigated as a homicide, and police already have one suspect, a fifteen-year-old boy that lives in the same complex as Maddy, in custody.
“We have arrested and taken into custody a 15-year-old male who was on the property at the time of the discovery,” Vogel said.
While there are no witnesses to the actual crime, the police say there are witnesses that reported seeing the teenager on the property at the time Maddy disappeared. It is not currently known how, or why, the suspect came to light.
A statewide Amber Alert was not issued because the authorities said her case didn’t meet the necessary criteria, and there were no suspects at the time.
[Photo via Twitter/Santa Cruz Police]