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Body of missing Florida teen Madeline Soto has been found, sheriff’s office says

The body of missing Florida teen Madeline Soto has been found, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Friday.

Search teams from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office found the 13-year-old’s body near Hickory Tree Road in a wooded area at 4:30 PM local time. The teen’s family has been notified, the statement said. Earlier that day, Sheriff John Mina announced that investigators were “now confident” Soto was dead.

Orange County Sherriff John Mina announces that the body of missing Florida teen Madeline Soto has been found.  /Credit: Orange County Sheriff's Office

Orange County Sherriff John Mina announces that the body of missing Florida teen Madeline Soto has been found. /Credit: Orange County Sheriff’s Office

She was last seen on February 26 around 8:30 am local time. She was wearing a green sweatshirt, black shorts and white Crocs shoes, authorities said.

The body of missing teenager Madeline Soto was found Friday.  /Credit: St. Cloud Police Department in FloridaThe body of missing teenager Madeline Soto was found Friday.  /Credit: St. Cloud Police Department in Florida

The body of missing teenager Madeline Soto was found Friday. /Credit: St. Cloud Police Department in Florida

On Thursday, authorities arrested her mother’s boyfriend, Stephan Sterns, for sexual assault and possession of child sexual abuse material. Sterns, 37, was the last person to see her. Authorities said they found disturbing images on his phone that were “criminal and sexual in nature,” and also discovered through the phone’s data that attempts had been made to delete evidence.

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Jail records show Sterns is in custody at Osceola County Corrections on charges of sexual abuse and possession of child sexual abuse material.

Caitlin O’Kane contributed to this report.

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