Missing 13-year-old Girl Found Dead

(LibertySociety.com) – The search for a missing 13-year-old Florida girl ended on March 1 after her body was found in Osceola County. Madeline Soto, of Kissimmee, was last seen on February 26 when she left for school with her mother’s boyfriend, Stephan Sterns. Her family told investigators that Sterns dropped her off in front of a church located around half a mile away from her school. Upon arriving to pick her up, her mother discovered that she had never made it to school that day. Orange County Sheriff John Mina said that surveillance footage from the church was too grainy to determine if she was captured on video.

Mina said that Soto was likely “already dead at the time” that she was supposed to be dropped off at school, as they believe Sterns was relocating her body early that morning. Video surveillance footage showed Sterns throwing Soto’s belongings into a dumpster outside of an apartment complex in Kissimmee at 7:35 a.m. on February 26. He returned to the complex at 8:19 a.m. and was captured on video again, this time with Soto’s lifeless body in the vehicle. Sterns also had a flat tire at the time, according to police. Later that afternoon, Sterns was seen driving a different vehicle in the area where Soto’s body was ultimately found.

On February 28, just two days before the discovery of Soto’s body, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office arrested Sterns for possession of child abuse material and wanton battery. Sterns claimed that he accidentally reset his phone on the same day that Soto disappeared, but investigators were able to retrieve the deleted items. Some of the disturbing images were from 2022 when Soto was just 11 years old. On February 29, detectives found her backpack and school laptop in the dumpster at the apartment complex.

Sterns has not been charged with Soto’s death, as authorities are still investigating. Additionally, the state of Florida is reviewing the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office after a photo of Soto’s dead body was unintentionally posted on Sheriff Marcos Lopez’s Instagram page.

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