Charlise Mutten disappearance: Inside complicated family history and grandmother’s last picture


As Christmas passed and school holidays dragged on, missing schoolgirl Charlise Mutten’s doting grandmother agreed to let the nine-year-old visit her mother in Sydney.

The summer trip was the perfect opportunity for mother and daughter to reconnect after Covid-enforced border closures and a jail stint had driven them apart.

Charlise lives with her grandmother, Deborah Mutten, in Coolangatta on the Gold Coast and attends a local primary school south of the border, where she’s known as a spritely and cheerful student. 

Deborah shared a sweet photo just two weeks ago on January 5. With the ocean as a backdrop, Charlise leaned back and kissed her beaming grandmother on the cheek.

Five days later, after Charlise had already made the trip to NSW to see her mother, Deborah confessed to a friend she was ‘struggling’.

Inside Charlise Mutten’s complicated family tree – with a former drug addict mother, stepdad on parole and doting grandmother who ‘struggled’ after letting the nine-year-old travel to Sydney to reconnect with her family

Deborah shared a sweet photo just two weeks ago on January 5. With the ocean as a backdrop, Charlise leaned back and kissed her beaming grandmother on the cheek

Deborah shared a sweet photo just two weeks ago on January 5. With the ocean as a backdrop, Charlise leaned back and kissed her beaming grandmother on the cheek

Charlise lives with her grandmother, Deborah Mutten, in Coolangatta on the Gold Coast and attends a local primary school south of the border, where she’s known as a spritely and cheerful student

A small group of emergency services workers, whose numbers have been depleted by a Covid outbreak among volunteers, were warned on day five of the search on Tuesday that the nine-year-old would be by now 'lethargic' and 'stationary'. 'It's day five. She's not going to be mobile,' a police officer told the Rural Fire Service and SES searchers

A small group of emergency services workers, whose numbers have been depleted by a Covid outbreak among volunteers, were warned on day five of the search on Tuesday that the nine-year-old would be by now ‘lethargic’ and ‘stationary’. ‘It’s day five. She’s not going to be mobile,’ a police officer told the Rural Fire Service and SES searchers

‘A bit of silly business was needed to lift the mood,’ she said alongside a photo of herself using a comedic Snapchat filter. 

‘Struggling a bit to be quite honest.’ 

Then, on January 14, she learned her beloved granddaughter had vanished while in the temporary care of her daughter, Kallista Mutten.

The nine-year-old’s complicated family history has been laid bare as search parties continue to scour the Wildenstein estate in Mount Wilson, in the NSW Blue Mountains, six days after she was last seen.

RFS crews have been searching the area for five days now, after Kallista and her fiancé Justin Stein reported Charlise missing on Friday morning. They hadn’t seen her since Thursday afternoon.  

A small group of emergency services workers, whose numbers have been depleted by a Covid outbreak among volunteers, are trawling through overgrown bush

A small group of emergency services workers, whose numbers have been depleted by a Covid outbreak among volunteers, are trawling through overgrown bush

A distressed Kallista Mutten is consoled by emergency workers on Saturday

Kallista Mutten pictured smiling with her daughter Charlise

Her distressed mum Kallista Mutten (pictured, left and right, with Charlise) was consoled by emergency workers on Saturday

As Christmas passed and school holidays dragged on, missing schoolgirl Charlise Mutten's doting grandmother agreed to let the nine-year-old visit her mother in Sydney

 As Christmas passed and school holidays dragged on, missing schoolgirl Charlise Mutten’s doting grandmother agreed to let the nine-year-old visit her mother in Sydney

Charlise’s disappearance puts a halt on what should have been a chance for Ms Mutten to bond and reconnect with her daughter after so many missed moments.

Ms Mutten was jailed in November 2017, when Charlise was just five, after she was convicted of dangerous driving occasioning death and driving with an illicit substance in her system.

It’s understood Charlise was handed over to her grandmother to care for her at the time. 

The court heard Ms Mutten was an ice addict and using two to three points every day when she swerved off the road and into the Tweed River, killing her passenger and friend, 53-year-old Karen ‘Kaz’ Bunch.

After the crash, Ms Mutten checked herself in to a rehab facility, but relapsed and began using again, the court heard.

She was also expelled from a clinic at Logan in Queensland after she threatened a fellow resident with violence. 

It’s unclear if Ms Mutten ever regained full time custody after her stint in jail. 

Charlise Mutten's stepdad is a convicted serious drug offender who is serving parole in the community after he was caught with an exorbitant amount of drugs in 2016

Charlise Mutten’s stepdad is a convicted serious drug offender who is serving parole in the community after he was caught with an exorbitant amount of drugs in 2016

WHO’S WHO IN CHARLISE MUTTEN’S FAMILY TREE

CHARLISE MUTTEN

Nine-year-old Charlise Mutten was last seen on the verandah of her step-father’s sprawling family home on Thursday, January 13.

She was not reported missing until 8.20am the next morning. 

Police and volunteers have been scouring the Wildenstein estate and surrounds since they first learned of her disappearance. 

DEBORAH MUTTEN – THE GRANDMOTHER

Charlise lives with her maternal grandmother, Deborah Mutten, in Coolangatta on the Gold Coast.

Ms Mutten is a local artist who dotes on her granddaughter. 

She shared a sweet photo with Charlise on January 5, just days before she vanished.

On January 10, she admitted she was ‘struggling quite a bit’. This was after she’d agreed to allow Charlise to visit her mum in a different state.  

KALLISTA MUTTEN – THE MOTHER

Charlise’s mother Kallista Mutten recently spent two years in jail after she was convicted of dangerous driving occasioning death and driving under the influence of an illicit drug.

She was released from jail in 2019 and was no longer using drugs after a stint in rehab and prison. 

It’s unclear how involved Mutten has been in her daughter’s life, but she was granted the opportunity to spend some time with Charlise over the summer school holidays before she vanished.

Charlise and Kallista were at the sprawling family estate of her fiancé, Justin Stein, when the nine-year-old vanished. 

JUSTIN STEIN – THE STEP-FATHER

Daily Mail Australia revealed on Tuesday Kallista’s fiancé, Justin Stein, is a convicted serious drug offender.

He was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail in 2017 for possessing a marketable amount of an illicit substance, and released on parole in November 2020.

Within a month of his release, he had proposed to Kallista. The couple have now been engaged for 13 months.

Stein comes from a wealthy family who own the Wildenstein estate where Charlise was last seen. It is a well known wedding venue in the Blue Mountains. 

THE FATHER 

Charlise’s biological father – who has not been named – is ‘absolutely shattered’ the nine-year-old is missing, a friend said on Tuesday.

He, along with his family and friends, are hopeful she’ll be found safe and unharmed.

It’s still unclear how much time Charlise spends with her biological parents – if any.  

Daily Mail Australia revealed on Tuesday Charlise’s stepdad, Justin Stein, also has a criminal past from about the same time as when her mother was convicted.

Stein was sentenced to six-and-a-half years prison for possessing a marketable quantity of a border enforced drug in 2017.

He was released on parole after serving a mandatory three years and nine months in November 2020, and by December 1 2020 was engaged to Ms Mutten.

It’s unclear if the duo knew each other prior to Stein’s release from jail just three weeks earlier. 

Stein comes from a wealthy family who moved to the Blue Mountains from Perth around the time he was born.

They own and operate the Wildenstein estate where Charlise was last seen – which is known as an exclusive wedding venue – as well as a jeweler in the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney’s CBD. 

Stein posted a photo of a pair of hands tattooed hands with the words 'Magic' on the right fist and 'Man' on the left, inked with tattooed dollar notes and skull-and-bones symbols

Stein posted a photo of a pair of hands tattooed hands with the words ‘Magic’ on the right fist and ‘Man’ on the left, inked with tattooed dollar notes and skull-and-bones symbols

Pictured: Charlise as a toddler with her mother Kallista. The youngster normally lives with her grandmother in Queensland

Pictured: Charlise as a toddler with her mother Kallista. The youngster normally lives with her grandmother in Queensland

Picture: The sprawling five-hectare Mount Wilson property where Charlise Mutten went missing

Picture: The sprawling five-hectare Mount Wilson property where Charlise Mutten went missing

Stein, a former steel and timber worker, is understood to split his time between an apartment owned by his mother in Leichhardt and the Mt Wilson venue, which was initially bought by his father James in 1989.  

He has a registered business, Magix Steel and Timber, and refers to himself as ‘Magix Man’ or ‘Magic Man’ online.   

The 31-year-old shared a photo of a pair of hands tattooed hands with the words ‘Magic’ on the right fist and ‘Man’ on the left, inked with tattooed dollar notes and skull-and-bones symbols.  

Meanwhile Ms Mutten goes by ‘KStar’ on social media and has ambitions of one day working with women who are victims of domestic violence.

Her goal, she said, is to ‘help change and work in the community’.

Charlise Mutten (pictured) went missing from the Blue Mountains on Thursday night. Family members have been unable to confirm to police her last known outfit

Charlise Mutten (pictured) went missing from the Blue Mountains on Thursday night. Family members have been unable to confirm to police her last known outfit

Search teams have been tirelessly looking for the schoolgirl since she was reported missing on Friday morning. Pictured: Emergency workers on Tuesday morning

Search teams have been tirelessly looking for the schoolgirl since she was reported missing on Friday morning. Pictured: Emergency workers on Tuesday morning

She previously confessed she ‘turned to ice’ to help her cope with the struggles of life but said she was remorseful for ‘making bad choices’ that led to the death of her friend. 

‘If was able to change places with Karen… now knowing the consequences of my actions I would,’ she told a magistrate ahead of her sentencing.

Ms Mutten claimed she was clean and no longer using drugs after stints in rehab and prison. 

Charlise’s biological father – who has not been named – is ‘absolutely shattered’ the nine-year-old is missing, a friend said on Tuesday.

He, along with his family and friends, are hopeful she’ll be found safe and unharmed. 

A spokesperson for Charlise’s primary school released a statement on Sunday expressing concern for the nine-year-old’s welfare.

We are very much thinking of Charlise and her family and hope she is found safely as soon as possible,’ the statement read. 

Police have seized a red ute (pictured) as part of their investigation, which will be forensically examined

Police have seized a red ute (pictured) as part of their investigation, which will be forensically examined

Kallista Mutten's fiancé Justin Stein (pictured) went to Penrith on Friday to speak with NSW police

Kallista Mutten’s fiancé Justin Stein (pictured) went to Penrith on Friday to speak with NSW police

It attracted comments from parents and members of the community offering their support.

‘Charlise, your teachers have you continually in their thoughts and really want to hear that you are back safe and well,’ one teacher said.

‘I can’t even imagine the anguish her family and friends must be going though. Please let her be found today,’ local MP Laura Gerber added. 

A small group of emergency service workers, whose numbers have been depleted by a Covid outbreak among volunteers, were warned on day five of the search the nine-year-old would by now be ‘lethargic’ and ‘stationary’.

‘It’s day five. She’s not going to be mobile,’ a police officer told the Rural Fire Service and SES searchers. 

NSW Police divers spent hours searching a pond on the Wildenstein property at Mt Wilson on Saturday

NSW Police divers spent hours searching a pond on the Wildenstein property at Mt Wilson on Saturday

The officer warned Charlise would need water from a ‘bottle, puddle or dam’ to survive in the wilderness. 

He couldn’t provide them with a description of what clothes she might be wearing as ‘we don’t have clothing unfortunately. We don’t know what she is wearing’. 

While Charlise was initially said to be wearing a pink top, black knee-length skirt and pink Nike thongs when she was last seen, neither Ms Mutten or her fiancé have been able to definitively say how she was dressed.

NSW RFS Commander Peter Bennett told Daily Mail Australia parts of the search area were ‘inhospitable’, made significantly worse by wet weather which hampered investigators on Monday.

‘It’s pretty thick scrub,’ he said. ‘Walking in line through that is exhausting.’ 

Police are appealing for anyone with information about her whereabouts to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. 

Charlise's disappearance puts a halt on what should have been a chance for Ms Mutten (pictured) to bond and reconnect with her daughter after so many missed moments

Charlise’s disappearance puts a halt on what should have been a chance for Ms Mutten (pictured) to bond and reconnect with her daughter after so many missed moments

TIMELINE OF CHARLISE MUTTEN’S DISAPPEARANCE

January 13: Charlise Mutten, nine, was last seen on the verandah of an estate called Wildenstein in Mount Wilson, north-west of Sydney. 

January 14: Charlise was reported missing at 8.20am. Police flocked to the 12.5-acre wedding venue and established a crime scene.

Neighbours told detectives they saw a car at 4.20am on Friday, with no headlights on.

Investigators seized a Holden Colorado ute on High Street in Penrith for forensic testing, which belongs to her mother’s fiance.

Her mother Kallista Mutten, 31, collapsed and was taken to hospital.

Ms Mutten’s fiancé Justin Stein, whose family owns the lavish property, spoke with police in Penrith. 

January 15: Homicide detectives took over the search.

Police divers seized a boat in the Hawkesbury River and scanned it for fingerprints. The boat will also be kept for forensic testing.

Investigators continued to scour fire trails in dense bushland surrounding the property.

January 16: RFS volunteers found ‘very small and barefooted’ prints along a fire trail.

‘Certain items’ have been uncovered by detectives, but police have not been able to determine the schoolgirl’s whereabouts.

January 17: A convoy of five police vehicles and detectives on foot entered the property around 11.30am.

One detective ordered media to ‘leave, now!’ from outside the gates of the five hectare wedding venue retreat

A police bus followed by unmarked police cars rolled through the gates as a uniformed officer stood guard. 

Earlier, plain clothes child protection squad officers drove into the property. 

Ms Mutten will be questioned by police.

January 18: Police say Charlise will likely be ‘lethargic’ and ‘stationary’ if she’s lost in the bush. 

Daily Mail Australia reveals Charlise’s step-dad has a criminal history and was recently released from prison.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk