Got A Tip?

Star Seeker

True Crime

Murdered 13-Year-Old Madeline Soto Was Abused By Mother's Boyfriend For Years -- Cops Found Video Evidence

Suspect In Madeline Soto's Murder Sexually Abused Her For Two Years, New Docs Say

[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]

Disturbing new details about the prime suspect in 13-year-old Madeline “Maddie” Soto‘s murder have come to light.

As we previously reported, the teenager was reported missing on Monday, February 26, after she never showed up to school that day. After nearly a week of searching for Maddie, authorities discovered her body in a wooded area in St. Cloud, Florida — almost 30 miles away from Orlando. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

The case has not exactly been handled very professionally so far, what with the Sheriff somehow posting a pic of Maddie’s body on Instagram. But at least they have a suspect. And readers, prepare yourselves — because this is awful…

Related: Dad Accused Of Drugging Daughter’s Friends With Smoothies At Sleepover

Maddie’s mom Jenn Soto’s boyfriend has been the prime suspect in her death. When the teen disappeared, Stephan Sterns told Osceola County sheriff officials he dropped her off down the road from her school on the day she was reported missing. However, that never happened.

Law enforcement discovered surveillance footage that showed Sterns throwing items in a dumpster at an apartment complex. Later, they found Maddie’s backpack and school-issued laptop inside that same dumpster. Their suspicions about Sterns grew when another video police reviewed showed Sterns driving around — allegedly with her remains in the vehicle.

Two days after Maddie was reported missing, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office arrested Sterns — but not for the murder of the young girl. Despite the current evidence against him, he has not been charged in her death. That investigation is ongoing. However, police did bust him for another crime committed against his girlfriend’s young daughter.

Suspect In Madeline Soto's Murder Sexually Abused Her For Two Years, New Docs Say
Stephan Sterns mugshot (c) Orange County Corrections Department

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by The US Sun, Sterns was charged with sexual battery and possession of child sexual abuse material. He allegedly sexually abused Maddie in August 2022 and continued to do so for nearly two years before her tragic death. The victim’s name in the affidavit was redacted. However, a birth date listed in the document matched that of Maddie’s.

Law enforcement stated in the doc that Sterns had done a factory reset on his cellphone on the day the teenager disappeared. Despite the reset, police managed to uncover some content off his phone. What they found was horrific. Osceola County sheriff officials said Sterns had explicit videos and pictures of Maddie from back when she was 11 years old.

What the f**k.

At this time, Sterns is being held without bail. Our hearts break for Madeline and her loved ones. We really hope she gets some justice.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence and would like to learn more about resources, consider checking out

If you have sincere cause to suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to

[Image via Orange County Sheriff’s Office, WFTV Channel 9/YouTube]

Related Posts

Mar 06, 2024 10:50am PDT