FDLE launches investigation after Osceola County sheriff posts picture of body on social media

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — A Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation is now underway into a picture that was shared on a social media account belonging to the Osceola County sheriff.


Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez shared a picture of what appeared to be Madeline Soto’s body on his Instagram account the morning after her body was found.

The picture was taken down a short time later.

Read: Osceola County Sheriff Lopez apologizes after social media post shows possible body of Madeline Soto

9 Investigates has followed this story since the beginning and has learned that FDLE is now investigating how this happened and has interviewed people involved, including those who found Soto’s body.

9 Investigates does not know how long the investigation will take or what, if any, charges could come from what appears to be a mistake,

The Sheriff’s Office told 9 Investigates that it was an accidental post on Instagram, but then told our partners at WDBO that it was not the body of Madeline Soto in that picture, just an area of interest where the body was found.

Read: Madeline Soto timeline: Only Channel 9 speaks with Maddie Soto’s father

Lopez called the claims that it was Soto a “political stunt.”

It is clear from the investigation that his claims are not true and, in fact, the body in the picture was dressed in clothing that matched the description of the clothes Soto was said to be wearing when she was reported missing.

Tyler Wallace, Soto’s biological father, told 9 Investigates that he did not see that picture, but he did have something to say about it.

Read: Madeline Soto’s biological father says he was blindsided by her death, seeks closure

“I hate that I live in a world where I have to call my parents and warn them that an internet troll might send them a picture of my dead daughter, and that they should just go ahead and start preparing for that possibility,” he said. “I hate that we live in that world.”

9 Investigates also asked FDLE for a comment on the selfie that Lopez’s executive director Nirva Rodriguez took with suspect Stephan Sterns after his arrest but has not heard back.

Meanwhile, local and state law enforcement agencies have been meeting to discuss the investigation into Sterns to determine if it is time to file more charges against him or anyone else who could be involved in the disappearance and death of Soto.

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Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler,

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.

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