Authorities confirm body found in dumpster is missing Santa Cruz girl

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- A body found in a trash bin at a Northern California housing complex is that of an 8-year-old girl who disappeared as she rode her scooter in the center's courtyard, authorities confirmed Tuesday.

The search for Madyson Middleton ended Monday night when a detective discovered the body at the artist community and housing center in Santa Cruz where the girl lived with her mother.

A 15-year-old boy, who also lives in the complex and knew the girl, was arrested on suspicion of murder, Vogel said. Madyson willingly went to the boy's apartment, where she was killed, Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel said at a news conference. A motive has not yet been released.

Of the discovery of Madyson's body, Vogel said, "It was horrific; it was horrible."

Madyson was last seen Sunday afternoon at the Tannery Arts Center. She had been seen riding her new, white scooter in the courtyard, but around 5 p.m. her mother realized she was gone.

Police twice conducted a door-to-door search of the entire complex, as well as a homeless resource center and shelter across the street.

Beyond the 8-acre property, searchers from throughout the state looked in boats, helicopters, on foot and bike, with dogs and cameras.

Authorities used dogs to search nearby woods and parks and the San Lorenzo River levee. Helicopters searched the forest and the coastline, and the U.S. Coast Guard scoured the ocean 2 miles from where she was last seen.

Hundreds of volunteers showed up to look for Madyson in neighborhoods and streets.

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.
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