Police in Santa Cruz, California, say a teen who has been arrested and charged with the killing of his 8-year-old neighbor was standing nearby when they discovered her body.
The body of Madyson "Maddy" Middleton was found in a recycling dumpster Monday evening, about a day after she was last seen riding her scooter in the courtyard of her apartment complex.
On Wednesday, Santa Cruz District Attorney Jeffrey Rosell identified the suspect as 15-year-old Adrian Jerry Gonzalez and said that he will be charged as an adult with murder, sexual assault and kidnapping. He will be arraigned on Thursday. Police allege Gonzalez lured the girl into his apartment, where he killed her.
On Tuesday, Santa Cruz police revealed other details about the discovery of Maddy's body and other aspects of their investigation.
It took more than 24 hours to find Maddy, police said, because they focused first on a search mission rather than recovering a victim's remains. But when authorities found the body in the dumpster, police said that Gonzalez was standing nearby in the Tannery Arts Center complex.
"The suspect was actually standing near the location when Madyson’s body was discovered," police said in a statement. Gonzalez was one of many volunteers who fanned out and helped search for Maddy, USA Today said.
Police believe that Maddy was killed before they got a call on Sunday evening at about 6 p.m that she was missing. Authorities have not confirmed how she died.
"The suspect had gone to great lengths to conceal the body," the statement said. "Madyson’s body was concealed and disguised inside the recycle bin in a way where it was not obvious or readily apparent."
Video recordings, witness statements and Maddy's belongings linked Gonzalez to the crime, according to a Santa Cruz Police Department statement.
Police have said that Maddy and Gonzalez were acquaintances, while another neighbor told local outlet KRON that the two were seen together "dozens" of times.