- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—A 15-year-old boy was arrested after police found the body of an 8-year-old girl in a dumpster Monday night, a day after she disappeared while riding her scooter in a Santa Cruz neighborhood, police said.

The body, believed to be that of Madyson “Maddy” Middleton, was found about 7:55 p.m. in a dumpster inside a garage at the Tannery Arts Center, the apartment complex where she was last seen Sunday, said Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel. It is unclear how long Madyson’s body had been inside the dumpster, he said.

“This is extraordinarily heartbreaking news,” Vogel said at a news conference Monday night outside the apartment complex.

The boy lives at the same apartment complex and was taken into custody in connection with Middleton’s death, police said. His identity was not released because he is a minor, officials said.

He was at the apartment complex Monday when detectives found Madyson’s body.

On Monday night, the boy was booked into the Santa Cruz Police Department, where detectives were interviewing him. Police planned to talk to witnesses who saw the boy at the apartment complex, Vogel said.

“I don’t know if they know each other,” he said.

Madyson was last seen about 4:15 p.m. Sunday playing with friends on a white Razor scooter at the apartment complex in the 1000 block of River Street. On Monday morning, Santa Cruz police called on the FBI to help them find her.

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Using helicopters and watercraft, authorities combed the coastal community. Police dogs tracked Madyson’s scent from the apartment complex to two miles away to nearby beaches. But after that, the trail went cold.

Police did not issue a statewide Amber Alert because it did not appear that she had been abducted and no one saw Madyson being taken, police said.

The girl’s parents cooperated with police and had been in contact with the Polly Klaas Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to finding missing children.

Authorities received thousands of tips about Madyson’s disappearance from the public.

More than 24 hours after the search began, police called it off Monday and launched a homicide investigation. Police planned to examine the crime scene overnight, and sealed off a residence at the apartment complex, Vogel said.

Authorities with the California Highway Patrol in Santa Cruz expressed sadness over Madyson’s death.

“Our hearts are broken and our deepest sympathy to the family of Madyson Middleton,” the CHP station said. “We are grieving with the entire Santa Cruz community.”


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July 28, 6:21 a.m.: This article was updated with details about the arrest.

11:22 p.m.: This article was updated with police confirming the girl was found dead and a suspect was arrested in connection with her killing.

11:21 a.m.: This article was updated with new details from a news conference held by police.

This article was originally published at 5:54 a.m. July 27.


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