Madeline Soto: Search continues for missing girl as her mother’s boyfriend refuses to face judge

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Deputies in Orange County said 13-year-old Madeline Soto has been missing since Monday morning.


And now, her mother’s boyfriend is in jail on charges of sexual battery and possession of child sex abuse material.

Stephan Sterns was supposed to go before an Orange County judge Thursday morning but refused to be in court.

Read: Deputies: Boyfriend of missing teen’s mother considered prime suspect; arrested for sexual battery

Sterns was scheduled to have his first appearance at 9 a.m.

Kissimmee police are working with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and arrested Sterns Wednesday night.

Crews spent hours Wednesday searching for the 13-year-old, who was reported missing Monday night.

During the investigation, detectives say they uncovered disturbing images when they searched Sterns’ phone.

Read: Missing girl Madeline Soto said she ‘wanted to live in the woods,’ sheriff says

Police said they also found data revealing he tried to delete evidence.

Investigators say they discovered images and videos that were criminal and sexual in nature.

Read: Large search party gathers for missing 13-year-old girl in Orange County

And that those crimes were all committed at the family home in Kissimmee.

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Q Mccray

Q McCray, WFTV.com

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.