SANTA CRUZ (KRON) — Maddy Middleton, the 8-year-old girl whose body was discovered in a recycling bin, died of asphyxia and stab wounds to the neck, according to Lt. Kelly Kent of the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office.
15-year-old Adrian Gonzalez has been charged as an adult for the murder and sexual assault of Middleton. He’s due back in court on September 21.
Middleton was last seen riding her new scooter around the Tannery Arts Complex, not far from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, on the evening of July 26. Her body was found the next night, stuffed in a recycling bin that was stored inside an enclosed parking garage downstairs from the suspect’s apartment.
Gonzalez, who was standing nearby when a detective discovered Middleton’s body, lured the girl into his apartment Sunday evening and killed her, according to Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel.
KRON 4 sources confirm the suspect raped, strangled and stabbed Middleton before carrying her body downstairs and dumping her body into the bin.
Since Gonzalez will be tried as an adult, his sentence will be much less lenient than if he was tried as a juvenile. If convicted, Gonzalez could face life in prison.