Body of missing 13-year-old found in wooded area

The body of a missing 13-year-old girl has been found just 24 hours after her mother’s boyfriend was arrested for being in possession of pornographic content of her.

Madeline Soto was found deceased in a wooded area off Hickory Tree Road by members of the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office at around 4:30 p.m. today, according to a statement from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Early Thursday morning, 37-year-old Stephan Sterns was arrested in connection with Soto’s disappearance. According to authorities, Sterns was the last person to see Soto before she went missing on Monday, February 26.

Sterns was originally booked into the Orange County Jail on charges of sexual battery and possession of child sexual abuse material.

The investigation has now turned into a homicide, with Kissimmee Police Department taking the lead.

According to law enforcement authorities, 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.

In a statement issued Friday, officials reported that Sterns had been seen driving a Lincoln MKZ on Monday in the area of Old Hickory Tree Road.

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