Body of missing teen girl found in Central Florida

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Just days after the disappearance of a 13-year-old girl in Central Florida, her body was reportedly found in a wooded area of Osceola County.

Madeline Soto was reported missing on Monday after she did not show up to Hunter’s Creek Middle School in Orlando.

Soto’s mother’s boyfriend, Stephan Sterns, was the last known person with the teen. He claimed to drop her off near her school on Monday morning, but an investigation revealed that she was never dropped off, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina believes that Stephan Sterns moved Madeline’s body in the early morning hours of Feb. 26.

“We have video evidence that shows Stephan Sterns discarding items in a dumpster in that apartment complex in Kissimmee at 7:35,” Mina said. “Detectives later recovered Madeline’s backpack and her school-issued laptop from that dumpster.”

Mina said a video showed Sterns returning to the complex with Madeline in his car about 45 minutes later, but the sheriff believes she was already dead by that point.

Sterns was arrested by Kissimmee police on Wednesday, after “disturbing images” were found on his phone.

He faces charges including sexual battery and possession of child sexual abuse material, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Sterns made a court appearance on Saturday. Kissimmee police have taken over the investigation and said he could face more charges after a thorough investigation is conducted.

Soto’s mother is reportedly not a suspect in the case.

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