In December 2021, Charlise Mutten went on her last holiday.

Warning: This article contains descriptions of violence against children.

It was the Christmas and New Year period of 2021 into 2022, and Charlise Mutten was staying with her mother and her mother's fiance at a lavish property in the NSW Blue Mountains.

The nine-year-old lived in Queensland with her grandparents. She was only visiting Kallista Mutten and Justin Stein for a few weeks over the school holidays. 

They were staying at the Wildenstein Private Gardens in Mount Wilson — a fancy wedding venue owned by the Stein family.

Watch: Justin Stein's murder trial has begun. 

Video via 7News

Police were told the little girl was last seen on the veranda of the property on Thursday, January 13. Her mother reported her missing on Friday morning. 

We now know she died sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. 

In the days after her disappearance, hundreds of police and emergency services searched for her. Dogs, helicopters, SES volunteers and locals all spent five days combing the dense Blue Mountains bushland.

Stein was interviewed as part of those investigations, and he claimed at the time to have also told his fiance, that her daughter may have been taken by people involved with his criminal past. 


Stein and Mutten had both spent time in prison, in fact, they met while behind bars. He was inside for drug-related offending and she was serving a sentence for dangerous driving causing death. They were both released in 2020. 

Justin Stein and Kallisa Mutten. Image: Facebook.

About an hour from the Mount Wilson property, police found a barrel on the banks of the Colo River. Charlise's body was inside. She had been shot once in the head and once in the lower back. Police also found 99kg of sand that had been used to try and weigh down the barrel. 


While searching for Charlise, police had also been retracing Stein's movements. They allege he bought sandbags, refuelled his boat, and visited the Colo River in the days before the little girl was reported missing. They have CCTV footage of the 33-year-old at a BP towing a boat, in the back of which, is allegedly the barrel containing Charlise's body. 

He was charged with murder the same day they found her. 

Police allege that Stein was alone with Charlise the evening on January 12, when they allege the murder occurred, while her mother was staying at a caravan an hour and a half away from the property. The trio had been dividing their holiday between the Mount Wilson property and Riverview Sky Park location. 

On Monday, April 13, 2024, Stein pleaded not guilty to murder on the first day of his six-week trial. 

In explosive claims, his defence lawyer told the jury it was Charlise's mother who pulled the trigger, and Stein just helped dispose of the body. He claims he told the original story about 'people involved with his criminal past' to protect her.

Carolyn Davenport SC told the jury they will "have a very different view of Kallista Mutten" after they receive the evidence. 

"Charlise was killed... by her mother... near a chicken shed on the property," she told the jury, as reported by The Daily Telegraph.

"He didn’t know what happened to the child, he disposed of the body... he didn’t put the body in the barrel but he did dispose of it."

But the prosecution says phone records showed Mutten acting in a way consistent with the belief that her daughter was missing, including messages to Stein urging him to find her. 


Crown Prosecutor Ken McKay SC told the jury Stein pretended he was out searching for Charlise while he was trying to dispose of her body.  

He reportedly messaged Mutten the morning after he took Charlise back to the Mount Wilson property telling her, her daughter was "wrecked" and was staying in bed. McKay says he then lied, telling Mutten a woman from an auction company would look after Charlise while he was out.

Charlise Mutten. Image: NSW Police.


The court has been told the couple both struggled with mental health issues throughout 2021. Both also struggled with substance abuse — Mutten had been using the drug ice since her early 20s, and Stein was undergoing treatment for heroin addiction.  

As the ABC reports, the court heard traces of a drug used to control schizophrenia (which Stein was receiving treatment for) were found in Charlise's system, ingested "either by design or accidentally". 

Prior to the alleged murder, Stein and Ms Mutten broke into a neighbour's home near the Mount Wilson property, taking two firearms including a .22 bolt-action hunting rifle, McKay told the jury. 

He said one of the guns was "of importance" to the Crown case. The ABC reports a hunting rifle scope, purchased online by Mr Stein, "made its way onto the stolen .22 bolt action rifle". 

The trial continues, with the fifteen jurors warned of a difficult few weeks ahead. 

"You will be shown images… you need to be assured you could look at such images and maintain impartiality," said the judge. 

The jury is under no pretence, they've been told the contents of this trial will be "particularly confronting". 

More to come.

-- With AAP.

If this has raised any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.

Feature image: Facebook.