JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A 14-year-old boy was arrested Tuesday in the stabbing death of an 8-year-old neighbor girl whose body was taped to the bottom of his water bed.
The youth confessed and was charged with murdering Maddie Clifton, who lived across the street, Sheriff Nat Glover said.
Maddie vanished after dashing out of the house the night of Nov. 3 to play with friends.
On Tuesday, police, alerted by the boy's mother, found Maddie's body in a fetal position under a sheet of plywood supporting the water bed, which was filled, Glover said. The girl had been stabbed at least nine times and was struck in the head.
Detectives recovered a knife and a baseball bat believed to be the weapons used to kill Maddie, he said.
"He put her under the bed and taped her up in it," the sheriff said.
Glover refused to discuss a motive and said there was no evidence that Maddie was sexually assaulted.
Hundreds of volunteers had distributed leaflets with her picture, and her parents pleaded tearfully for her return.
On Sunday, family members and volunteers handed out fliers and yellow ribbons to 70,000 fans at the Jacksonville Jaguars football game. The Jaguar coaches also wore the ribbons.
Authorities had searched homes in the working-class neighborhood three times.
During the most recent search of the boy's home Monday, officers detected an odor, which his mother explained came from birds and other pets, the sheriff said.
The youth's mother grew suspicious after the police search, pulled aside the frame of the bed Tuesday morning, saw Maddie's feet and summoned an officer, Glover said.