An autopsy of 8-year-old Madyson "Maddy" Middleton revealed she died from asphyxiation and stab wounds to the neck between the time of her July disappearance in Santa Cruz and when she was found a day later, according to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office.
Maddy vanished the evening of July 26 as she was outside playing with friends and riding a Razor scooter at the Tannery Arts Center at 1030 River St.
The girl lived at the center, which provides housing for artists, with her mother. After she disappeared, a frantic daylong search ended in heartbreak when her body was discovered in the bottom of a recycling bin at a parking garage for the housing complex.
Police quickly arrested another resident of the complex, 15-year-old Adrian Jerry Gonzalez, and he was charged as an adult with murder, kidnapping, forcible lewd acts on a child and other crimes.
Investigators said Gonzalez lured Maddy to his apartment above the parking garage where he raped her, killed her and dumped her body in the recycling bin before she was even reported missing.
Gonzalez was booked into the county juvenile detention center and is scheduled to return to court on Sept. 21.