What started as a mere disappearance of a little girl ended with the shock and devastation of a community. Little Madyson Middleton was only 8 years old when her life ended most likely at the hands of 15-year-old Adrian Jerry “A.J.” Gonzales.
According to police reports, A.J. Gonzales lured Middleton into the apartment where he and his mother lived last Sunday . Then from there, the boy proceeded to sexually assault and strangle little Maddy, eventually ending her short life. The girl’s body was found Monday night in a recycle bin a few floors down.
New photos into KRON of 15-year-old Adrian Jerry Gonzalaz, the teen arrested for killing 8-year-old Madyson Middleton pic.twitter.com/2ONv2zucZi
— KRON 4 News (@kron4news) July 29, 2015
The residents of the Tannery Arts Center, a building where the victim and the suspect lived, can’t believe the horrible news that has befallen on their little community.
"First I'm very, very heartbroken for Maddy. But I thought it had to be a mistake," said Lisa Silas, a building resident since 2009. "This is really hard. We're just really upset, really devastated."
Silas knew the boy, as well as most of the 250 people living in the arts center. People see him as a gentle boy that never parts with his yo-yo.
Unfortunately, they didn’t know him well enough. Social media posts, particularly on Instagram, points to Gonzales as a troubled boy probably dealing with mental health issues of his own.
"It definitely sounds like this guy was dealing with depression and thinking about suicide," said Oscar Cervantes, a clinical psychologist in San Bruno. "It seems like this guy knew something was really wrong with him."
Gonzales will be charged as an adult for the murder, kidnap, and sexual assault of Maddy Middleton.
Despite this recent wave of grief and shock, the Tannery community expects to channel the negativity into support for one another. A playground in honor of little Maddy may be in the works.