15-year-old suspect and Madyson Middleton lived in same apartment complex

Madyson Maddy Middleton
This undated photo provided by the Santa Cruz Police Department shows missing Madyson "Maddy" Middleton, from Santa Cruz, Calif. Madyson Middleton was last seen Sunday afternoon, July 26, 2015, riding a scooter outside the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz, a beach town along the Northern California coast. The 4-foot-tall, a 50-pound child, has long brown hair, which was pulled to the side in a braid, and dark eyes. She was wearing a purple dress, black leggings, black flip-flops and a black helmet when she vanished. (Courtesy of Santa Cruz Police Department via AP)

SANTA CRUZ (KRON) — As police dogs scoured Santa Cruz Monday for missing Madyson Middleton, a detective lifted up a dumpster lid at the Tannery Arts Center complex where the 8-year-old lived and made a gruesome discovery.  The child’s body, believed to be Middleton, was found unceremoniously dumped close to where she went vanished the evening before while riding her scooter.

While community members try to make sense of the senseless, police are focusing their attention on a 15-year-old suspect who also resides in the complex.

According to neighbor Terrance Keller, “police took the suspect into custody, he did not resist arrest.”

The teen was arrested on suspicion of homicide and was present at the time of the body’s discovery, according to police.


Police announced Monday night that they had sealed off a residence at the Tannery Arts Center complex and were in the process of obtaining a search warrant.

The Coroner’s Office was still on site as of Tuesday morning, trying to determine the cause of death.

Although a suspect is in custody, questions remain.


Did the suspect and Madyson know each other?  What was the motive? According to child safety expert Marc Klaas, child-on-child crime is rare.

The Department of Justice is assisting in the investigation and police are planning to release more information sometime Tuesday morning, according to police.

KRON 4 will carry the news conference live when it happens.

Stay with KRON 4 as more information is made available.

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