Mother’s boyfriend ‘prime suspect’ in disappearance of 13-year-old girl

Detectives have arrested a mother’s boyfriend in connection with the disappearance of her 13-year-old girl after finding sexually explicit photos of the girl on the boyfriend’s phone.

Stephan Sterns, 37, was arrested by members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and booked into Orange County Jail early Thursday morning on charges of sexual battery and possession of child sexual abuse material.

Sterns is the boyfriend of the mother of Madeline Soto, who has been missing since Monday, February 26. According to authorities, Sterns was the last person to see Soto that morning.

During a forensic examination of Stern’s phone, detectives discovered “disturbing images” and attempts to delete evidence. The images were criminal and sexual in nature, according to OCSO.

Through further investigation, detectives determined that crimes related to the images had been committed at the family’s home in Kissimmee. Kissimmee Police Department was notified of the incidents and have taken lead on the sexual battery case alongside members of the OCSO Criminal Investigation Division.

Authorities are still investigating Soto’s disappearance and are asking the public for assistance.

Soto was last seen in the 13500th block of Town Loop Boulevard in Orlando. Soto stands 5’1″ tall, weighs 110 pounds, has blonde hair and blue eyes. She was last seen around 8:30 a.m. that morning, just off Village Park Drive. At the time, she was wearing a green sweatshirt, black shorts, and white Crocs.

Authorities say that Soto also has a mole on the left side of her nose and the right side of her chin.

If you have any information about the whereabouts of Madeline Soto, please contact the Orange County Sheriff’s Office at 407-254-7000.

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