Martha Mendoza and Janie Har, Associated Press, July 28, 2015
A 15-year-old boy lured an 8-year-old girl into his apartment and killed her before hiding her body in a recycling bin at the housing complex for artists where they lived, authorities said Tuesday.
Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel told reporters that Madyson Middleton was probably dead even before she was reported missing Sunday evening.
The boy, who police say knew the girl as a neighborhood acquaintance, was arrested on suspicion of murder, Vogel said.
The boy, whose name is not being released because he is a juvenile, was nearby when the body was discovered, and officers found evidence in the apartment that links him to the slaying, the police chief said.
Madyson willingly went to the apartment. A motive has not yet been released, Vogel said.
On Tuesday morning, the trash-collection area where Madyson’s body was found remained roped off. Visitors stopped at a walkway memorial to pay respects with candles, bouquets of flowers and stuffed animals.
Hundreds of volunteers had searched surrounding areas to look for Madyson, who was last seen Sunday afternoon. She had been seen riding her new Razor scooter in the courtyard, but around 5 p.m., her mother realized she was gone.
The Tannery Arts Center where the girl lived is a public-private nonprofit project that includes 100 affordable loft apartments for artists and their families, a cafe and dance and art studios.