Suspect in Florida girl's disappearance is hit with 60 new sex crime charges

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The fellow of nan mother of 13-year-old Madeline Soto, nan Florida woman who was recovered dormant successful a wooded area this month, is facing 60 caller charges that span from intersexual artillery to possession of kid pornography, authorities said Tuesday. 

Stephan Sterns, 37, who was antecedently described by nan Orange County Sheriff's Office arsenic "the premier suspect" successful Madeline’s disappearance, was deed pinch nan caller charges connected Monday, according to a news merchandise from nan State Attorney’s Office for nan Ninth Judicial Circuit. 

He has not been charged successful relationship pinch nan girl's death. 

Madeline’s mother reported her missing Feb. 26 aft she went to prime nan woman up from schoolhouse and learned that she ne'er made it.

Sterns was arrested Feb. 28 connected charges of intersexual artillery and possession of kid intersexual maltreatment worldly aft detectives recovered “disturbing images” and videos that were “criminal, and intersexual successful nature” connected his phone, the sheriff's office said.

During nan hunt for Madeline, Sterns was interviewed by rule enforcement and consented to having his telephone searched, an apprehension affidavit said. He told authorities he accidentally did a mill reset nan time Madeline vanished, according to nan affidavit.

However, a forensic introspection of nan telephone led authorities to observe nan images, prompting his arrest. The apprehension affidavit did not sanction Madeline but said nan images recovered depicted "the missing juvenile."

Further investigation led to nan find of much images showing criminal acts, starring to nan caller charges.

He now faces 8 counts of intersexual artillery connected a kid nether 12; 5 counts of intersexual artillery pinch a kid 12 to 18 (familial/custodial authority); seven counts of lewd aliases lascivious molestation; and 40 counts of unlawful possession of materials depicting intersexual capacity by a kid 10 aliases much images, according to nan news release. 

Court documents revenge Monday, which blocked retired nan sanction of nan victim, bespeak that nan crimes dated backmost to 2019, respective of which took spot erstwhile nan unfortunate was nether nan property of 12. 

“The State Attorney’s Office has been moving intimately pinch KPD and received grounds that gave america origin to record general charges against Sterns," State Attorney Andrew A. Bain said successful a statement. "We admit nan thoroughness and elaborate attraction of their investigation and will proceed to activity pinch our rule enforcement partners to build a beardown lawsuit against nan defendant.” 

Sexual artillery connected a kid nether 12 is simply a superior felony, punishable by life successful situation if a suspect is convicted, prosecutors said. 

Sterns is presently being held successful nan Osceola County Jail. His arraignment is group for April 2.

NBC News has reached retired to nan nationalist defender's agency for comment. It's not clear if he's yet been assigned an attorney.

The Kissimmee Police Department is nan lead agency successful Madeline's homicide investigation.

It is believed she was killed successful Kissimmee, wherever her family lived successful an apartment, and that Sterns moved her assemblage early Feb. 26, Orange County Sheriff John Mina previously said.

Madeline’s assemblage was recovered March 1. No specifications person been released astir really she died.

Marlene Lenthang

Breaking News Reporter