Madeline Soto

Florida investigators have released hundreds of pages relating to their investigation into the disappearance and murder of 13-year-old Madeline Soto, who was reported missing on February 26, the day after her birthday.

Soto’s body was found in a wooded area in Osceola County, near where her mother’s boyfriend was seen with a flat tire on the day of her disappearance, as CrimeOnline reported. The boyfriend, Stephan Sterns, said he dropped her off at school that morning, but investigators later determined that never happened and charged him with her murder.

The newly released documents, from both the Osceola and Orange County Sheriff’s Offices, detail information about the shifting stories Sterns told investigators as well as physical evidence uncovered during the investigation, CourtTV reported. Among that evidence was surveillance footage that reportedly showed Sterns driving around with Soto’s body in his car that morning — and carrying “a limp body to the trunk of the vehicle.”

Traffic cameras tracked Sterns vehicle that morning as he traveled a completely different route than the one he told investigators he used to get Soto to school at about 8:30 a.m. Prior to that time, Sterns was seen throwing trashbags into the compactor at Madeline’s mother’s apartment while the girl, in the car, “appeared to be completely slumped over and with her mouth ajar.”

Stephan Sterns/Osceola County Sheriff’s Office

When investigators searched the compactor, they found Soto’s school laptop, backpack, and one of her shoes.

The 800 pages of documents also include details about the family’s living arrangements. Sterns had previously lived with Jennifer Soto and her daughter but told officers he moved out in December to take a job his father got for him.

A search warrant executed on the property showed that rooms in the home matched the background on many of the images of child pornography — which featured Soto.

Addidtionally, Jennifer Soto told officers she allowed the teenager to share a bed with her boyfriend and that she had done so the night before she disappeared.

In addition to murder, Sterns faces eight counts of sexual battery on a child under 12, five counts of sexual battery of a child 12-18 (familial/custodial authority), seven counts of lewd or lacivious molestation, and 40 counts of unlawful possession of materials depicting sexual performance by a child 10 or older.

The documents were released short after prosecutors announced they would seek the death penalty.

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