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Stephan Sterns Murders Madeline Soto

Stephan Sterns Madeline Soto
Stephan Sterns Madeline Soto

Stephan Sterns is an accused killer from Florida who has been charged with the murder of thirteen year old Madeline Soto

According to police reports Madeline Soto was reported missing just days after her thirteenth birthday. After an exhaustive four day search the teenagers body would be found

Stephan Sterns, who was the boyfriend of Madeline Soto mother, quickly became a suspect after he was arrested for sexual battery and possession of child sexual abuse material in the days after Madeline disappearance

The material police found on Stephan Sterns phone showed him abusing Madeline Soto when she was just eleven years old

Stephan Sterns has now been charged with first degree murder and the prosecutors are debating whether to seek the death penalty in this case

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Stephan Sterns News

Stephan Sterns, the prime suspect in the death of 13-year-old Madeline Soto, has been charged with first-degree murder, records indicate.

According to documents obtained by WESH 2, Sterns has been charged in Madeline’s death.

A grand jury indicted Sterns early on Wednesday. Officials defended the amount of time it took to bring the murder charge against Sterns, saying officials were gathering every piece of evidence they could.

“The evidence shows an individual that was entrusted to keep Madeline safe made calculated moves to dispose Madeline’s belongings and place her body in a wooded area before she was ever reported missing,” Kissimmee Police Chief Betty Holland said.

State Attorney Andrew Bain said they have not decided if they will pursue the death penalty in this case, but those conversations will continue.

Officials emphasized that there are some facts about this case that cannot yet be shared. Once Stern’s attorney participates in discovery, more records can be made public, Homicide Unit Chief Will Jay said

Soto’s body was found in rural Osceola County on March 1 — five days after she was reported missing. Sterns, who is Madeline’s mother’s boyfriend, allegedly dropped her off near school on the day she went missing.

As the investigation developed, officials said this was never the case.

A few days after Soto went missing, OCSO found disturbing evidence on Stern’s phone and he was later charged with 60 counts related to sexual battery on a child and possession of sexual material.

News of Sterns facing murder charges came on the same day he did not show up for a scheduled hearing in court and the judge agreed to postpone the start of his trial for the sex crime charges.

Sterns is expected to go before a judge on Thursday or Friday for his first appearance on the first-degree murder charge.

Madeline goes missing:

Madeline Soto, 13, was first reported missing on Feb. 26. after her mother’s boyfriend, 37-year-old Stephan Sterns, said he dropped her off near her school.

When Soto’s mother went to pick her up at Hunters Creek Middle School around 4:30 p.m., she learned Soto had not been to school at all that day.

Arrest made:

On Feb. 28, just a few days before Madeline’s body was found, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of Sterns for the disturbing evidence found on his phone during their investigation. He’s accused of sexually abusing Soto for years. Documents say the sexual abuse dates back to 2022.

Additionally, an affidavit from Kissimmee police revealed that Sterns attempted to factory reset his phone on the same day Soto went missing.

Because these alleged crimes took place at the family’s home in Kissimmee, the Kissimmee Police Department took over the investigation into the sexual battery.

On the morning of March 1, Sterns was transferred from the Orange County jail to the Osceola County jail.

All eyes on Sterns:

The day after his arrest, Orange County deputies said they believed Sterns had information regarding the disappearance of Soto, but he refused to answer any questions and requested an attorney.

This led detectives to believe Soto was never dropped off near her school.

Once the focus of the investigation changed, detectives started to gather more information about what happened on the morning of Feb. 26.

Investigators revealed they uncovered video of Sterns discarding items into a dumpster at the family’s Kissimmee apartment complex around 7:35 a.m. on Monday.

Soto’s backpack and school laptop were recovered from that dumpster.

Additionally, investigators said Sterns was spotted returning to the apartment complex around 8:19 a.m. with the teen in the car. According to OCSO, they believe Soto was already dead when Sterns was seen with her in the car.

Body found:

A few hours after officials said this evidence made them confident Soto was dead, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office said they received a tip from someone who said they potentially saw involvement in the case.

This tip led search teams to a wooded area near Hickory Tree Road in St. Cloud. On March 1, officials confirmed they had located the body of Madeline Soto.

Because of developments in the case and where the body was found, Kissimmee police took charge of the investigation into the 13-year-old’s death.

“This is a sad day for our community and we mourn the loss of such a young life,” Kissimmee Police Chief Betty Holland said that night.

More charges:

On March 12, almost two weeks after Madeline’s body was found, a total of 60 new charges were filed against Sterns.

Sterns was charged with:

Eight counts of sexual battery on a child under 12.
Five counts of sexual battery with a child 12-18.
Seven counts of lewd and lascivious molestation.
40 counts of unlawful possession of materials depicting sexual performance by a child, 10 or more images.

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