NewsBody of missing Florida girl found, Mother's partner arrested

Body of missing Florida girl found, Mother's partner arrested

The body of a 13-year-old girl was found.
The body of a 13-year-old girl was found.
Images source: © Orange County Sheriff's Office, Google Maps
8:51 AM EST, March 4, 2024

Madeline, 13, went missing on February 26 after being dropped off by her mother's boyfriend at the Peace United Methodist Church on Town Loop Boulevard. The church is located a few blocks from Hunter's Creek Middle School, which she attended. Sadly, she never arrived there.

"This is a murder investigation case," Sheriff John Mina stated at a press conference.

“Today, around 4:30 PM near Hickory Tree Road, our search teams from the Osceola County Sheriff's Office found Madeline Soto's body in a wooded area. We have notified Madeline's family,” announced the sheriff's office on Friday.

Potential involvement of the mother's partner in Madeline Soto's death

Following the grim discovery, Jenn’s boyfriend, 37-year-old Stephan S., was arrested on charges of assault and possession of child exploitation material found on his phone. He is now the primary suspect in the 13-year-old’s death, being the last person reported to have seen her alive.

According to "The Mirror," investigation of Soto’s phone revealed indications she might have been subjected to harm at home. She messaged friends about her intention to "live in the woods" and escape her living situation. Despite these revelations, her mother has expressed disbelief that her daughter would take such an action.

NBC News reported that authorities suspect the man murdered the girl in the morning, then transported and left her body in the area where it was later found. "We have evidence indicating that Madeline was visible in the vehicle as it passed by Hickory Tree Road on surveillance footage. We believe she was already deceased at that time," Sheriff John Mina explained during a press conference, though he did not specify when the footage was recorded.

Source: NBC News, The Mirror

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