Madyson Middleton was found dead this week after being reported missing on Monday, and a police source has now released grisly new details on the slaying of the 8-year-old California girl.
Middleton went missing late Sunday afternoon while playing in her Santa Cruz neighborhood. Local police led a massive effort to search for the young girl, but it ended in tragedy late on Monday when she was found dead.
“At approximately 7:55 p.m., and this is extraordinarily heartbreaking news that I’m about to give to you, our detectives discovered the body of a young female inside of a dumpster at the complex located behind me,” said Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel on Monday night.
A 15-year-old neighbor was arrested, with KRON quoting a law enforcement source who said that Middleton had been raped and strangled. Police have not officially said how the girl died.
On Monday, the Santa Cruz Police Department did offer new details on Madyson Middleton’s slaying (via KRON).
“We have determined that Madyson was an acquaintance of the suspect by virtue of both residing at the Tannery Arts Center complex. 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. Evidence in the case indicates that Madyson was killed prior to the initial call to police on Sunday July 27th at 6:08 pm.”
“We have determined the suspect acted alone and not in concert with anyone else. There is no risk or threat to the community at this point as the suspect is currently in custody at the Santa Cruz County Juvenile Detention Facility.”
Police added that Madyson likely went to the apartment on her own.
“She went there of her own volition as far as we can tell – she knew him. She was 8 years old. I think she had a reasonable amount of trust in him,” Vogel said. “We don’t believe she was taken there against her will.”
They believe Middleton was killed not long after being lured into the apartment.
“It’s my belief that she was killed before we got the phone call Sunday night,” said Vogel.
Police have not released information on the suspect, but did say he was standing nearby when the body was discovered. It is unclear if the 15-year-old suspect has been charged yet, but the district attorney said he may be charged as an adult.
Authorities have not said why the teenage suspect targeted Madyson Middleton or if it was a random attack.
[Image via WKRN]