Prosecutors charge teen as adult in death of 8-year-old

SANTA CRUZ — Prosecutors said Wednesday they have charged a 15-year-old boy as an adult in the death of an 8-year-old girl in an artists complex in a California beach town.

Santa Cruz District Attorney Jeffrey Rosell said at a news conference that the teen faces charges including murder and kidnapping.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported that the suspect is Adrian Jerry Gonzallez.

Madyson Middleton went missing Sunday after playing in a courtyard at the complex where she lived with her mother.

Police say the teen lured her into his family’s apartment unit and killed her before dumping her body in a recycling bin.

Investigators found evidence in the apartment linking the suspect to the crime.

The teen was nearby when police found Madyson’s body Monday night. He was arrested shortly afterward.

Neighbors at the Tannery Arts Center where both the suspect and Madyson lived said they were stunned by the death. The center is a public-private nonprofit that includes 100 affordable loft apartments for artists and their families. About 250 people live in the complex, including about 50 children.

A memorial has been set up in Madyson’s honor, overflowing with dozens of bouquets, stuffed animals, balloons, candles and notes.

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