Man arrested in Madeline Soto case was not a Disney Cast Member

Stephan Sterns is the boyfriend of Madeline’s mother and is the last confirmed person to see her on the morning of Monday, Feb. 26.

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Despite information on the Facebook profile belonging to Stephan Sterns, the man arrested Wednesday, Feb. 28, in the case of missing 13-year-old Madeline Soto was not a Disney Cast Member, officials confirmed.

The Kissimmee Police Department, working in conjunction with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, on Wednesday arrested Stephan Sterns, 37, for sexual battery and possession of child sexual-abuse material.

Sterns is the boyfriend of Madeline’s mother and is the last confirmed person to see her on the morning of Monday, Feb. 26.

During the investigation into Madeline’s disappearance, Orange County Sheriff’s Office detectives discovered disturbing images when they forensically examined Sterns’ phone. A review of the phone’s data revealed attempts to delete evidence.

Through the work of our Digital Forensics Unit, detectives discovered images and videos that were criminal and sexual in nature.

Detectives determined those crimes were committed at the family home in Kissimmee, and they immediately notified Kissimmee Police. At this time, Kissimmee detectives are the lead on the sexual battery case and are working alongside members of OCSO’s Criminal Investigations Division.

OCSO is actively investigating Madeline’s disappearance, and Sterns is considered the prime suspect at this time.

Sterns was brought to OCSO Central Operations, where he was interviewed by Kissimmee PD and OCSO detectives. He invoked his right to an attorney and was placed under arrest and transported to jail.

“Stephan Sterns had an opportunity tonight to come clean with detectives and help lead them to information about Maddie’s disappearance,” Sheriff John Mina said. “Her loved ones deserve answers, and OCSO and the Kissimmee police will not stop until we find Maddie.”



Michael Eng

As a child, Editor and Publisher Michael Eng collected front pages of the Kansas City Star during Operation Desert Storm, so it was a foregone conclusion that he would pursue a career in journalism. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Missouri — Columbia School of Journalism. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his wife and three children, or playing drums around town. He’s also a sucker for dad jokes.

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