Stephan Sterns, Boyfriend of Missing 13-Year-Old Madeline Soto’s Mom, Faces Life in Prison

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The prime suspect in the disappearance and death of a 13-year-old girl was charged with 60 criminal counts on Tuesday.

Stephan Sterns is charged with 8 counts of sexual battery on a child aged under 12 years, 5 counts of sexual battery with a child aged between 12-18, 7 counts of molestation, and 40 counts of possession of child pornography, according to a press release from the office of State’s Attorney Andrew Bain.

Sterns told police he’d dropped off Madeline Soto, the daughter of his girlfriend, at school on Monday, Feb. 26. She had been reported missing after school officials said she never arrived.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina alleged that Sterns had returned to his apartment that Monday morning with Madeline’s body, and tried to discard her backpack and school laptop. Sterns was arrested on Feb. 28, and charged with sexual battery and possession of child sex abuse material, which were recovered on his cell phone.

Her body was discovered two days later in the woods in Osceola County, Florida.

Meanwhile, the Kissimmee Police took the lead on Sterns’ sexual battery case. State Attorney Bain said that his office “has been working closely with KPD and received evidence that gave us cause to file formal charges against Stern[sic].”

Because sexual battery on a child under 12 is a capital felony, Sterns faces a sentence of life in prison, or the death penalty, if convicted. His arraignment is scheduled for April 12.