Boyfriend Charged with Murder of 13-Year-Old Girl

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Stephan Sterns, the boyfriend of Madeline Soto’s mother, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of the 13-year-old girl. According to court records in Osceola County, Florida, Sterns was officially charged on Wednesday, April 24.

Soto’s body was discovered in a wooded area on March 1, following a four-day search after she was reported missing. This tragic incident occurred just days after Soto celebrated her 13th birthday, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel.

During a recent press conference, Florida State Attorney Andrew Bain revealed that it is uncertain whether the prosecution will seek the death penalty for Sterns. Bain confirmed outside the Osceola County Courthouse, “We’re going to continue those discussions going forward, and we will let you know again when we make that decision as to whether we’re going to seek the death penalty in this case.”

Sterns had previously been arrested and charged with sexual battery and possession of child sexual abuse material by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office prior to the discovery of Soto’s body.

Law enforcement officials allege that Sterns had sexually abused Madeline back in 2022 when she was just 11 years old.