Madeline Soto

Madeline Soto

Madeline Soto was a 13-year-old child living with her mom, Jennifer Soto, and her mom's boyfriend, Stephan Sterns.

Madeline was reported missing by her mother on February 26, 2024 at about 4:00 p.m. after her mother said she went to pick her up from school and she was a no show.

On February 28, 2024, an arrest warrant was issued for Stephan Sterns on charges of sexual battery and possession of child pornography. He was eventually charged with 60 crimes in connection with Madeline's case.

The following month, Stephan Sterns was indicted by a grand jury for the murder of Madeline Soto.

Date:

Monday, February 26, 2024

Crime:

Homicide

Location:

Osceola County Florida

Age:

13

Case Documents

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FDLE – Stephan Sterns Verizon Phone GPS Data

February 25 - 26, 2024
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Orange County SO – Missing Person Investigation – Deputy Joseph

February 26, 2024
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Kissimmee PD – Incident Investigation Report

February 27, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Interviews, Detective Hunt

February 27, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Yellow Cloth in Pond, Detective Freeze

February 27, 2024
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Orange County SO – Search Warrant Application, Affidavit, and Return – General Warrant

February 27, 2024
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Application and Affidavit for Search Warrant

February 28, 2024
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Arrest Warrant for Stephan Sterns

February 28, 2024
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Oceola County Department of Corrections File on Stephan Sterns

Various Dates
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Kissimmee PD – Incident Report, Missing Person, Officer Clark

February 28, 2024
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Kissimmee PD – Incident Report, Missing Person, Officer Owens

February 28, 2024
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Kissimmee PD – Search Warrant Application and Affidavit – Sterns DNA and Penis Photographs

February 28, 2024
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Orange County SO – Evidence and Property Report

February 28, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Blue Gloves and Crocs, Kenneth Dale

February 28, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Video Surveillance of Trash Compactor, Detective Fischer

February 28, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, White T-Shirt – Deputy Rouben

February 28, 2024
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Orange County SO – Property Form

February 28, 2024
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Orange County SO – Search Warrant Application, Affidavit, and Return – Lincoln

February 28, 2024
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Search Warrant, Affidavit, and Return – Unknown iPhone

February 28, 2024
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Orange County SO – Retrieval of Shirt and Underwear – Deputy Joseph

February 28, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Search Warrant, Detective Junco

February 28, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, K9 Sweep, Deputy Davila

February 28, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Missing Person, Deputy Vasquez

February 28, 2024
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Arrest Warrant

February 29, 2024
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Kissimmee PD – Incident Report, Extradition Warrant, Officer Wood

February 29, 2024
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Kissimmee PD – Incident Report, Sexual Battery, Officer Moore

February 29, 2024
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Kissimmee PD – Victim Notification Card

February 29, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Black Samsung Phone, Detective Acosta

February 29, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Exxon Gas Station Cameras, Detective Alicea

February 29, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Grey Tank Top, Deputy Weaver

February 29, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Interview of Belmores, Detective Rembis-Licari

February 29, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Trash Compactor, Tire, Deputy Fischer

February 29, 2024
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Orange County SO – Property Form

February 29, 2024
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Osceola County SO – Wanted Person Table

February 29, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, iPhone 13 Pro, Evan Avila

March 1, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Multiple Interviews, Jeffrey Payne

March 1, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Neighborhood Canvass and Search Warrant, Deputy Nguyen

March 1, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Surveillance Footage of Lincoln, Detective Jones

March 1, 2024
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Osceola County SO – Statement of Abrey Hardy Dymmek

March 1, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Tow of Lincoln, Detective Davila

March 1, 2024
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Osceola County SO – Crime Scene Contamination Sheet

March 1, 2024
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Osceola County SO – Call Detail Report

March 1, 2024
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Osceola County State Attorney Deputy Incident Report

March 1, 2024
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Osceola County SO – Duty Report for Incident

March 1, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Google Account Search, Detective Chiang

March 2, 2024
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Capital One Declarion of Business Records

March 4, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Interview of Jenn Soto, Detective Calise

March 4, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Interviews, Detective Bradshaw

March 4, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Smoke Shop Surveillance Video and Car Search Warrant, Detective Cole

March 4, 2024
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Orange County SO – Incident Report, Surveillance Video and Interviews, Brian Savelli

March 4, 2024
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Orange County SO – Supplemental Report – Incident Report – Detective Tagler

March 4, 2024
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Orange County SO – Evidence and Property Report, House and Nissan Sentra

March 7, 2024
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Orange County SO – Crime Scene Report

March 8, 2024
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Osceola County SO – Supplemental Report – Property Evidence

March 8, 2024
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New Charges Against Stephan Sterns

March 11, 2024
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FDLE – Case Tracking Form

March 13, 2024
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Kissimmee PD – Incident Report, Hold the Scene, Officer Irizarry

March 14, 2024
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Supplemental Report – Investigator Morris

March 14, 2024
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Kissimmee PD – Incident Report, Hold the Scene, Officer Nieves

March 14, 2024
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Kissimmee PD – Supplement Report, Officer Smallwood

March 14, 2024
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FDLE – Case Tracking Form

March 20, 2024
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Kissimmee PD – Supplement Report, Scene Security, Officer Latchman

April 3, 2024
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Kissimmee PD – Supplement Report, Scene Security, Officer Morales

April 6, 2024
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FDLE – Laboratory Report

April 10, 2024
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Grand Jury Indictment of Stephan Sterns

April 24, 2024
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Kissimmee PD – Apartment Canvassing Log

Date Unknown
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Kissimmee PD – Evidence List

Date Unknown
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State’s Response to Defense’s Demand for Discovery

May 7, 2024
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Notice of Intent to Seek Death Penalty

June 7, 2024
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Defense’s Designation of Capital Case Defenders

June 7, 2024
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Press Release: State to Seek Death Penalty Against Stephan Sterns

June 10, 2024

Audio Recordings

Interview of Stephan Sterns, February 27, 2024

Timeline

February 26, 2024:

7:35 a.m.: Surveillance cameras capture Sterns discarding items in the trash.
7:50 a.m. - 8:31 a.m.: Sterns' car leaves and returns to the apartment complex multiple times, with Madeline’s body visible in the car.
4:30 p.m.: Jenn Soto goes to Hunter's Creek Middle School to pick up Madeline but learns she never arrived.
8:00 p.m.: Madeline is reported missing. Sterns claims he dropped her off near the school. Her phone was left at home.

February 27, 2024:

The Orange County Sheriff's Office issues a public release about Madeline's disappearance.

February 28, 2024:

A massive search is conducted, but no trace of Madeline is found.
Stephan Sterns is arrested as the prime suspect, with charges of sexual battery and possession of child sexual abuse materials after disturbing images are found on his phone.

February 29, 2024:

The arrest affidavit for Sterns is released, revealing inconsistencies in his story and evidence of a factory reset on his phone.

March 1, 2024:

Sheriff John Mina announces investigators are confident Madeline is dead and likely killed at her home before Sterns moved her body.
Video evidence shows Sterns disposing of items in a dumpster. Madeline's backpack and laptop are found.
Madeline's body is recovered from a wooded area. A vigil is held in her memory.

March 2, 2024:

Sterns waives his first court appearance; the judge grants no bond.
A confidential crime scene photo is accidentally posted on social media by the Osceola County Sheriff's Office.

March 5, 2024:

The State Attorney's Office requests an investigation into the released crime scene photo.

March 6, 2024:

Kissimmee police continue their investigation, revealing Sterns' history of sexual abuse towards Madeline.

March 12, 2024:

The State Attorney's Office files 60 counts against Sterns, including multiple counts of sexual battery and possession of child sexual abuse materials. A pretrial hearing is set for April 24, with a trial on May 13.

March 21, 2024:

Kissimmee Police Chief Betty Holland provides an update, emphasizing the thoroughness of the investigation.

April 4, 2024:

The Medical Examiner's Office withholds the autopsy report due to confidentiality statutes. The 911 call audio is released.

April 24, 2024:

Stephan Sterns is indicted by a grand jury for Madeline Soto's murder. Authorities discuss the calculated nature of his actions and have not yet decided on seeking the death penalty.

June 11, 2024:

The State Attorney's Office announces it will seek the death penalty against Sterns if convicted. Factors include aggravated child abuse, familial authority, heinous nature of the crime, and Sterns' prior charges.

June 12, 2024:

Hundreds of pages of court documents are released, revealing a rough timeline of Sterns' movements on the day of Madeline's disappearance, witness interviews, cell phone mapping images, and surveillance videos. Sterns' car is tracked from the Kissimmee apartment complex to St. Cloud, where Madeline's body is later found. Jennifer Soto initially stated she saw her daughter the morning of February 26 but later retracted, stating she assumed Madeline was in the kitchen.