Missing 13-Year-Old Florida Girl Found Dead, Mother’s Boyfriend Is Prime Suspect

Orange County Sheriff's Office via Facebook
Orange County Sheriff's Office via Facebook

The Orange County Sheriff’s office has discovered the body of a missing 13-year-old girl on Friday.

Madeline Soto was reported missing after she never arrived at school on Monday morning, and police said they believed that she was already dead by the time school started.

Police suspect Madeline’s mother’s boyfriend, Stephan Sterns, who told police he’d dropped her off near school on Monday, according to ClickOrlando.

At a press conference on Friday afternoon, Orange County Sheriff John Mina said that the police had obtained video evidence of Sterns discarding something in the trash of his apartment building early that morning. When they investigated the receptacle, police found the teenage girl’s backpack and laptop.

“We have evidence that shows Stephan Sterns returning to the complex and Madeline was visible in that vehicle. We believe she was already dead at that time,” he said.

Soto was arrested on Wednesday on charges of sex battery and possession of child sex abuse material, which was discovered on his phone as part of the investigation.

Police also said they believed she had already been killed before she was deposited in the woods in Osceola County, Florida, where her body was discovered.

“This is a sad day for our community and we mourn the loss of such a young life,” said Kissimmee Police Chief Betty Holland in a press release. The Kissimmee Police will take lead on Sterns’ sexual battery case.

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