Madeline Soto case: State to seek death penalty against Stephan Sterns

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — The 9th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office announced Monday that it will seek the death penalty against Stephan Sterns.


Investigators said Sterns killed 13-year-old Madeline Soto, his girlfriend’s daughter, in late February.

Soto’s mother reported her missing Feb. 26, and her body was found in a rural, wooded area near St. Cloud on March 1.

“During the investigation into Soto’s disappearance, law enforcement found several disturbing pictures and videos on Sterns’ phone,” the State Attorney’s Office said in a news release. “He was arrested on 60 charges, including capital sexual battery, lewd or lascivious molestation and unlawful possession of materials depicting sexual performance by a child.”

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Read: ‘It’s a nightmare:’ Florida family claims child’s medical condition led to child abuse accusations

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