Teen Arrested in Horrific Murder of Missing 8-Year-Old Girl

The body of a little girl was found in a dumpster in Santa Cruz, after a frantic search to find her. Eight-year-old Madyson Middleton was last seen Sunday afternoon riding her scooter, and a 15-year-old boy has been arrested for murdering Maddy and hiding her body in a large recycling bin in the coastal artist community.


Hundreds of people joined in the search for the little girl, including the homeless population, who checked the local levee to make sure Maddy hadn't fallen in. Tragically, her body was found in a dumpster just a stone's throw from her own front door.

Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel said at a late-night news conference on Monday, "This is extraordinarily heartbreaking news I'm about to give to you ... This evening at approximately 7:55 p.m. ... our detectives discovered the body of a young female inside of a dumpster at the complex located behind me."

She'd just been out playing with her new scooter at the Tannery Arts Center, which offers low-cost housing to artists. Authorities believe that Middleton knew the teen boy, and suspect that he lured her to his home before taking her life.

It was a shocking revelation to the tight-knit community, who had believed that Maddy had been abducted. Neighbor Jeannie Cartabiano said, "We all had this idea that she had been taken from the site ... That's what's so shocking." She continued, "To find out that [that it might be] one of our own is shocking. That she was at the site this whole time is shocking. The whole thing is hard to comprehend."

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There is no known motive for the boy to have murdered Maddy, and the cause of death is not yet known.

This is absolutely heartbreaking, and I hope that if they find evidence that this teen did in fact kill her, they try him as an adult. This would obviously not be a case of kids misbehaving, or even two teens getting into an altercation that went too far.

If this kid did lure Maddy to his home to harm her, that's intent, and he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.


Image via Santa Cruz Police Department

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