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A 13-Year-Old Fla. Girl Has Been Missing Since Monday — and Her Mother's Boyfriend Was Just Arrested

Madeline Soto was last seen on her way to school

<p>GoFundMe</p> Madeline Soto

GoFundMe

Madeline Soto

Days after a 13-year-old girl went missing in Florida, her mother’s boyfriend was arrested and is now considered the prime suspect in her disappearance.

Madeline Soto was reported missing Monday from her home, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office says.

On Wednesday, Stephan Sterns, 37, who is dating Madeline’s mother, was arrested and charged with sexual battery and possession of child sexual abuse material, the sheriff’s office says. He has not been charged in connection with the 13-year-old’s disappearance, but police say he is the prime suspect.

Sterns’ was the last person confirmed to have seen Madeline, according to the sheriff’s office. During the investigation into her disappearance, police allege that they found disturbing images on his phone as well as attempts to delete them.

<p>Orange County jail </p> Stephan Sterns

Orange County jail

Stephan Sterns

Police say upon his arrest, he invoked his right to an attorney. He is being held in jail currently without bond. It is not clear if he has entered a plea.

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“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 in a statement. “Her loved ones deserve answers and OCSO and the Kissimmee Police will not stop until we find Maddie.”

Authorities have been actively searching for Madeline since she disappeared Monday morning. She is 5 feet, one inch tall, weighs 110 lbs. and was last seen wearing a green sweatshirt, black shorts and white Crocs.

She was last seen on her way to school in Orlando, Fla.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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