A day after the body of the missing nine-year-old Charlise Mutten was found in a barrel on Tuesday, the fiancé of the girl’s mother was arrested and charged with murder.
On Friday, January 14, 2022, a multi-agency search for missing nine-year-old Charlise Mutten has been underway, searching the bushland near her home in the Blue Mountains. The Sunday Morning Herald reported that local police, assisted by the dog squad, PolAir, and volunteers from the Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service, participated in an exhaustive search.
On Thursday, the girl went missing at the family’s property at Mount Wilson, but her disappearance wasn’t reported to NSW police until 8:20 AM on Friday. Homicide detectives joined the effort on Monday.
The Daily Mail wrote that the family tree of Charlise Mutten is a complicated one. According to the report, the girl’s mother is allegedly a former drug addict who spent two years in jail. Charlise Mutten resided with her grandmother in Coolangatta on the Gold Coast. According to the grandmother, Deborah Mutten, she struggled to let the nine-year-old travel to Sydney to reconnect with her family.
Justin Stein, the stepfather or fiancé, whose sources vary on the exact status of the mother’s partner, is a convicted drug offender who was previously sentenced to six years in jail. Stein comes from a wealthy family and owned the multimillion-dollar Weinstein estate in Mount Wilson, where Charlise was last seen.
On Tuesday, detectives used GPS data and CCTV in their search for missing nine-year-old Charlise Mutten, who was last seen in the Blue Mountains five days earlier. Authorities found a barrel in bushland near the Colo River on Tuesday night. Inside the barrel, detectives found the body of a child. Police said the body has yet to be formally identified, but they say the remains are consistent with Charlise Mutten, ABC News Australia reported.
According to authorities, the barrel was transported to the Sydney morgue, where the coroner will investigate the body and cause of death.
On Wednesday, police arrested 31-year-old Justin Stein and charged him with the murder of nine-year-old Charlise Mutten. Authorities believe Stein acted alone in the alleged murder.
“[His] movements escalated our scrutiny,” said NSW Police Deputy Commissioner David Hudson. “Those included the purchase of a number of 20-kilogram sandbags from a hardware store [and] fuel for a boat.”
According to court testimony, Stein has been on medication for mental health issues for years, and there are concerns about his personal safety in prison.
Authorities said the police investigation will continue.
According to a report by the Daily Mail, Charlise Mutten may have been dead for up to three days before her mother reported her missing, police believe.