Father of Madeline Soto joins community during honoring vigil

SAINT CLOUD, Fla. — Dozens of people gathered Saturday in St. Cloud to continue honoring Madeline Soto and the life she left behind.


During the vigil, community members prayed, held a moment of silence, and listened to the teen’s favorite songs from the movie Lilo and Stich.

“You will always be remembered as the young girl running through pumpkin patches, learning to fish, feeding baby goats, and jumping into corn pits when you would come and visit us. It’s hard to imagine that you’re gone,” said Tatiana Wallace, Madeline’s stepmother.

The vigil was at the site where the teen’s body was discovered.

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It was to honor the teen even after her death and the legacy she left behind that brought the entire Central Florida community together.

“We want Maddie to know that you matter to us,” said Ashley Ohmart, a community team member.

In late February, 13-year-old Madeline Soto was reported missing by her mother to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department after she received a call the teen never made it to school the Monday after her 13th birthday.

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Investigators said Osceola County deputies found the missing 13-year-old girl’s body at about 4:30 p.m. in a wooded area along Hickory Tree Road in St. Cloud.

Investigators said Madeline was last seen with her mother Jennifer Stern’s boyfriend who told investigators and Eyewitness News he dropped her off at school Monday morning.

Sterns was later named the prime suspect in her disappearance and arrested and is in Osceola Jail for 60 counts of child sex crimes.

As of now, no one has been charged for the death of Madeline.

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Ohmart said she and others plan to get a permanent memorial to honor Madeline. They also plan to advocate for the teen and others who face sexual abuse.

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