60 New Charges Filed Against Suspect in Madeline Soto Case for Child Sex Crimes

60 New Charges Filed Against Suspect in Madeline Soto Case for Child Sex Crimes

Authorities announced on Tuesday that the main suspect in the death of a 13-year-old Florida girl who was discovered dead after going missing for a week is now facing an extra 60 counts related to child sex offenses.

According to the Kissimmee Police Department, Stephan Sterns, 37, is charged with eight counts of sexual battery of a child under the age of twelve, five counts of sexual battery with a child between the ages of twelve and eighteen, seven counts of lewd and lascivious molestation, and forty counts of unlawful possession of materials showing a child engaging in sexual activity.

Madeline Soto’s mother, Jennifer Soto, found her dead a few days after her disappearance on February 26. Sterns was Jennifer Soto’s boyfriend.

60 New Charges Filed Against Suspect in Madeline Soto Case for Child Sex Crimes

“We appreciate the efforts of our partners in the State Attorney’s Office in assisting with seeking justice for Madeline,” Kissimmee Chief of Police Betty Holland stated. “With this being a complex case with many facets, our work is not done, and we are continuing our investigation into the timeline leading up to Madeline’s death.”

Authorities alleged that “disturbing” photos and videos of the adolescent on Stearns’ phone were discovered by detectives soon after Madeline vanished.

He was first taken into custody without being required to post bond after being charged with sexual battery with a minor, criminal sexual battery, and possessing materials showing a juvenile engaging in sexual activity.

“The State Attorney’s Office has been working closely with KPD and received evidence that gave us cause to file formal charges against Sterns,” State Attorney Andrew Bain stated. “We appreciate the thoroughness and detailed attention of their investigation and will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to build a strong case against the defendant.

A few days after Madeline’s death was discovered on March 1, more charges were brought. Orange County Sheriff John Mina stated that she was last seen on February 26, the day Sterns was meant to drop her off for school.

Madeline never returned, and according to the authorities, they thought she had passed on that morning. Authorities claimed that after disposing of her school-issued laptop and rucksack in a dumpster, Sterns moved her body.