The teen, who lived on the same property at the Tannery Arts Center where 8-year-old Madyson Middleton's body was found, took her to his apartment and allegedly killed her there, Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel said at a news conference today.
The teen then allegedly carried Madyson's body to a recycling bin below his apartment, Vogel said. The body was found concealed in the bin Monday night.
According to Vogel, it's likely that Madyson was killed before she was reported missing Sunday night.
Vogel said police have found evidence linking the teen to the crime. He said the teen and Madyson were acquaintances as they both lived at the same complex.
Vogel also said Madyson willingly went up to his apartment.
"She knew him," Vogel said. "I think she had a reasonable amount of trust in him."
The teen has been arrested for murder and is currently being housed at a juvenile detention facility, Vogel said, noting it's believed he acted alone.
Vogel called the case "devastating."
An autopsy will be conducted, Vogel said.