Madeline Soto case: Stephan Sterns faces 60 new charges

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — The Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday morning that it has filed sixty new charges against Stephan Sterns.


Sterns is considered the prime suspect in the disappearance of 13-year-old Madeline Soto, whose body was discovered March 1 in a wooded area in rural Osceola County.

Sterns now faces the following charges:

Read: Madeline Soto: A timeline of her disappearance & death

• 8 counts of sexual battery on a child under 12

• 5 counts of sexual battery with a child 12-18 (familial/custodial authority)

• 7 counts of lewd or lascivious molestation

• 40 counts of unlawful possession of materials depicting sexual performance by a child (10 or more images)

Read: Madeline Soto: Story Jennifer Soto gave law enforcement doesn’t line up with what investigators know

The Kissimmee Police Department discovered several photos and videos on Sterns’ cellphone and arrested him on charges of sexual battery with a child, capital sexual battery and possession of material depicting sexual performance by a child, officials said.

He is being held without bail at the Osceola County Jail.

“The State Attorney’s Office has been working closely with KPD and received evidence that gave us cause to file formal charges against Sterns,” State Attorney Andrew Bain said in a statement. “We appreciate the thoroughness and detailed attention of their investigation and will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to build a strong case against the defendant.”

Read: Former chief judge explains next step in Madeline Soto case as evidence builds against prime suspect

Sterns will eventually be arraigned on the charges.

Sexual battery on a child under 12 is a capital felony, punishable by life in prison if a defendant is convicted, Bain’s office said.

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Jason Kelly

Jason Kelly, WFTV.com

Jason Kelly joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2014. He serves as the station's Digital Executive Producer.

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