SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Disturbing new details emerged Thursday about Madyson Middleton’s final hours alive during which time she was lured to a neighbor’s home by a teen boy, killed and tossed in a recycling bin.
The 8-year-old girl went missing Sunday in the Tannery Arts Complex in Santa Cruz, about 80 miles south of San Francisco. Her body was found the next day.
Adrian Jerry Gonzalez, 15, has been charged as an adult with murder, rape, and “other sexual assault related offenses,” the Santa Cruz District Attorney’s Office said.
He appeared in court Thursday but did not enter a plea, the Associated Press reports. His arraignment is continued to Sept. 21.
While Middleton was riding her scooter in their neighborhood, Gonzalez allegedly lured the girl to his family’s apartment and tied her up, then he beat, raped and strangled her, the San Jose Mercury News reports. He allegedly dumped her lifeless body in a recycling bin in a parking garage beneath his apartment.
A resident in the complex told the Mercury News Gonzalez obsessively asked him questions about the status of the search as teams combed the neighborhood for signs of Middleton.
Middleton was initially reported missing shortly after 6 p.m. Sunday. Police believe she was killed before they received that call.
Santa Cruz Police Department Chief Kevin Vogel said the victim and suspect were acquainted because they lived inthe same apartment complex.
“She knew him. She was 8 years old. I think she had a reasonable amount of trust in him,” Vogel told KTLA. “We don’t believe she was taken there against her will.”
If convicted, Gonzalez faces life in prison.