Sheriff: Missing girl Madeline Soto said she ‘wanted to live in the woods’

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A search continued Wednesday for a missing 13-year-old Orange County girl who vanished Monday morning after she was dropped off near Hunters Creek Middle School.


The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said more than 50 members of its Emergency Response Team were searching for Madeline Soto near Osprey Park on Wednesday.

Investigators said Soto was last seen at about 8:30 a.m. Monday near Town Loop Boulevard and Hunters Park Lane.

Photos: Orange County deputies search for missing 13-year-old girl

Sheriff John Mina said Wednesday afternoon during a news conference that Soto was never reported as having attended school Monday so deputies met up her mother at the school, where she filed a missing persons report.

He said she left her cellphone at home that day.

Mina said investigators were able to obtain an article of Soto’s clothing from her mother to try to use bloodhounds to track her down, but the search yielded no results.

He said a command post has been set up, and search teams continue to canvas the area where she was last seen.

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

Mina said detectives interviewed Soto’s mother, her mother’s boyfriend and her friends.

Investigators determined that Soto had sent text messages or made social media posts indicating she “wanted to go live in the woods” upon her 13th birthday, which was Thursday.

Mina said Soto’s home will be searched Wednesday, and he said that is a common practice with such disappearances.

He said deputies are also contacting with any sex offenders who live near Soto’s last known location.

“This is every parent’s worst nightmare,” Mina said. “Rest assured we’re doing everything possible to find out where Madeline is.”

Read: Police: Woman dies after being thrown from pickup truck before chase; 3 arrested

He said the circumstances surrounding her disappearance do not meet the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s requirements for an Amber Alert to be sent.

Soto was last seen wearing a green sweatshirt, black shorts and white Crocs.

Anyone who sees her is asked to call 911 or 800-423-8477.

Click here to see photos of Soto, and see her last known location below:

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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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