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North Port Man Arrested As Suspect In Murder Of 13 Year Old Kissimmee Girl Madeline Soto


The body of 13-year-old Madeline Soto from Kissimmee was discovered on Friday afternoon by investigators. The prime suspect in her disappearance, is North Port Stephan Sterns, 37, the boyfriend of Madeline’s mother He has been arrested on charges of sexual battery and possession of child pornography.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina, in a press conference held prior to the discovery of Madeline’s body, revealed crucial evidence implicating Sterns. Video footage from Monday, the day Madeline went missing, showed Sterns driving a car allegedly containing her lifeless body and discarding her belongings. Additionally, separate surveillance footage placed Sterns near Hickory Tree Road, the location where Madeline’s body was eventually found in a wooded area by Osceola County Sheriff’s Office search teams.

Earlier in the week, Sheriff Mina had briefed reporters about surveillance footage from a local church on Monday morning, although it remained inconclusive whether Madeline was depicted. Furthermore, investigations into Madeline’s phone revealed messages indicating her intention to “live in the woods” upon turning 13, which she did on February 22nd.

Sheriff Mina disclosed on Friday that investigators now believe Madeline was already deceased by Monday morning, around the time she was expected to be dropped off. Video evidence captured Sterns disposing of Madeline’s belongings in a dumpster at a Kissimmee apartment complex at approximately 7:35 a.m. that same morning.

The community mourns the tragic loss of Madeline Soto, as authorities continue their investigation into the circumstances surrounding her untimely death.