A 15-year-old California boy has been arrested in connection with the death of an 8-year-old girl whose body was found in a dumpster.
A day after disappearing, the body of Madyson “Maddy” Middleton was discovered by a police officer at about 7:55 p.m. on July 27, Los Angeles Times reported.
Following an extensive search, the girl’s body was found in a dumpster inside a garage at the Tannery Arts Center apartment complex in Santa Cruz, California, said Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel. According to police, both Middleton and the teen arrested in connection to her death lived at the complex.
Officials said because he is a minor, the identity of the boy taken into custody was not released.
Middleton and the young suspect were neighbors, but Vogel says he does not know if the two knew each other, according to Daily Mail.
Middleton was last seen on July 26 while riding her scooter in the Tannery Arts Center courtyard where children frequently play. The girl was caught on video surveillance at 4:12 p.m. that day and was reported missing at 6 p.m. by her parents.
“She was just happy as could be, riding around,” her mother, Laura Jordan, told KRON4.
Middleton’s parents met with investigators Sunday night after Jordan reported her missing, and again on Monday.
“I can’t explain how difficult this is,” Jordan told KRON4 after searching for her daughter throughout the night.
“She was in the courtyard where she was supposed to be," she added. "And that was the last we saw of her on surveillance.”
The FBI as well as sheriffs from San Mateo and Santa Clara counties searched for Middleton, reports Daily Mail. K-9 units from the Office of Emergency Services, helicopters and watercraft were all reportedly used to hunt for the girl.
According to Vogel, police plan to examine the crime scene over night and a residence at the complex was sealed off.
The 15-year-old suspect was taken into custody at about the same time Middleton’s body was found. He was booked into the Santa Cruz Police Department as part of the homicide investigation, Vogel said.