Current track




‘I’m devo’: Text after schoolgirl vanishes

Written by on May 16, 2024

The mother of Charlise Mutten sent a text saying she was “devo” and wanted her daughter back after the nine-year-old disappeared, but didn’t report the girl missing for another two days, a jury has heard.

The day after her daughter was allegedly shot twice, once in the face and the lower back, Kallista Mutten sent a message to her then-fiancee and alleged killer Justin Stein.

“I just want my daughter,” the text read.

She would spend the next few days searching bushland surrounding her partner’s property in Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, before Charlise’s body would be found on January 18, 2022.

Mr Stein, 33, is facing a trial in the NSW Supreme Court at Parramatta after pleading not guilty to murder, but has admitted to disposing of the nine-year-old’s body.

The girl was visiting her mother and Mr Stein during the school holidays, and spent her time in Sydney split between Mr Stein’s family property at Mount Wilson, where she was allegedly shot and killed, and at a caravan park named the Riviera Ski Gardens in Lower Portland, about 1.5 hours away.

On January 11, 2022, crown prosecutor Ken McKay SC told the jury Charlise was to Mount Wilson from the caravan park with Mr Stein, while Ms Mutten stayed behind.

Mr McKay alleges Mr Stein was the “last person” to see Charlise and had the opportunity to her between 7.16pm on January 11 and 10.06am on January 12.

The jury was told Mr Stein went and retrieved Ms Mutten from the caravan park later on January 12, with the mother under the impression Charlise was unwell and being looked after at the Mount Wilson property.

When they arrived to find Charlise wasn’t there, Ms Mutten called two local hospitals to try and locate her daughter on the night of January 12, before the pair went to sleep.

During the night, the jury was told Ms Mutten went through Mr Stein’s phone and saw he had been accessing adult dating sites which caused her “distress”.

In the early hours of January 13 Ms Mutten took Mr Stein’s Holden Colorado ute and went to a nearby park where she sent messages to friends “consistent with her belief the child was missing”, Mr McKay said.

“I’m devo and now my daughter is missing,” one message read.

When she later returned to the property she sent a message to Mr Stein saying: “I just want my daughter.”

The jury was told there was a “confrontation” between the couple at the house before Ms Mutten again took off in his car, prompting Mr Stein to leave eight voicemails on her phone.

“If you don’t bring it back I am going to f**king hurt you as well as everyone else, and I’ll tell the police you’re the one who took your daughter so they will bring back my f**king car,” the recording, which was played to the jury, said.

The jury heard another voicemail where Mr Stein said: “I’ve got my f**king guns and I’m going to f**king kill you now, and I’m f**king serious, you’ve f**ked me over for the last time … it was you doing this to Charlise to f**k me wasn’t it c**t, I’m going to kill you.”

In another message, Mr Stein tells his then-fiancee he “does the right thing” by “looking after” her before saying she is “going down dog”.

Ms Mutten didn’t report her daughter missing until 8.12am on January 14, with the jury hearing her triple-0 call where she told police she had been looking for Charlise in bushland.

“I’m sorry, I need to report my daughter missing … she’s nine,” Ms Mutten tells the officer through tears.

“She was here (the Mount Wilson property) … I wasn’t here, my partner was here and during the morning she was really … she was sort of sick, lethargic, and I was Two-and-a-half hours away.”

Charlise’s body was found in a barrel on an embankment near the Colo River four days after her mother reported her missing.

After his arrest in January 2022, Mr Stein denied killing Charlise in an interview with a Corrective Services officer but said he was “in the vicinity when Kallista Mutten shot and killed the girl,” the jury heard.

A toxicology report showed Charlise had tested positive for Mr Stein’s schizophrenia medication.

The trial continues before Justice Helen Wilson.