Teen accused in Maddy Middleton murder appears in court

- A Santa Cruz teenager accused of raping and killing an 8-year old girl in 2015 was back in court Tuesday morning.

AJ Gonzalez was expected to be arraigned, but the judge granted a continuance, after the defense asked for more time to review new documents from prosecutors.

Gonzalez allegedly killed Maddy Middleton on July 26, 2015 at the Tannery Arts Center's housing complex at 1030 River St., where they both lived with their families, police said.

He allegedly lured her into his apartment, according to police. Maddy was last seen around 5 p.m. that day riding her Razor scooter outside around the complex and was reported missing an hour later, police said.

Santa Cruz police officers, county sheriff's deputies, FBI personnel and other agencies searched for Maddy until the night of July 27, when the girl's body was found in a large recycling bin in a first-floor parking garage at the complex, according to police.

Investigators quickly detained Gonzalez, who lives in a unit above the garage, police said.

He was then arrested in connection with Maddy's murder and booked into the county juvenile detention center, according to police.

An autopsy on Maddy showed she died from asphyxiation and stab wounds to her neck, sheriff's officials said.

The court has ruled that Gonzalez be tried as an adult.

If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

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