The mother of schoolgirl Charlise Mutten has finally been interviewed by detectives – and claimed she believed her daughter was safe and well up until the morning she called police.
The nine-year-old’s body was found last week in a barrel which had been dumped on the banks of the Colo River, northwest of Sydney.
Police later alleged she had died from a gunshot wound and Justin Stein, 31, her mother’s new fiancé, has been charged with her murder.
Kallista Mutten alleged to police Charlise had been left with Stein for nearly 48 hours between January 11 and 13 at his parents’ Wildenstein property at Mount Wilson.
Ms Mutten had several phone calls with Stein on Thursday January 13, the day he allegedly drove around with the young girl’s body in the back of his ute, police said after she was formally interviewed after spending a week in hospital.
The mother of schoolgirl Charlise Mutten, (pictured) called police on January 14 – a day after she had several phone calls with her fiancé
Kallista told police she had left Charlise in Stein’s care at the Wilderstein property (pictured)
The next morning, on January 14, Kallista called police and reported her daughter missing after becoming ‘concerned’, The Daily Telegraph reported.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner David Hudson said Ms Mutten and Stein had ‘number of telephone conversations’ on the Thursday afternoon.
‘Then later on she got concerned and reports her (Charlise) missing,’ a source said.
Her call to police triggered an intensive five-day search of bushland until the schoolgirl’s was discovered.
Footage was earlier released by police allegedly showing Stein driving around Sydney with the nine-year-old’s body hidden in a barrel in the back under a tarpaulin sheet.
One part of the video allegedly shows Stein’s red Holden Colorado ute pulling into a Marsden Park petrol station while towing a boat at 5.53pm on Thursday, January 13.
At 7.17pm the same evening, his car was allegedly filmed driving through Drummoyne in the city’s inner-west.
Police allege Justin Stein drove around with Charlise’s body encased in a barrel in a boat towed by the accused’s ute around to various locations before dumping the girl on the Colo River
Kallista Mutten (pictured a few years ago) with her daughter Charlise, who were seen together staying at the caravan and cabin park at Lower Portland days before the girl’s alleged murder
Police allege a CCTV camera filmed his red ute driving in the same suburb towards Five Dock Bay Boat Ramp three minutes later.
Detectives released the footage as they revealed the young girl’s cause of death after an ‘extensive post mortem examination’.
‘I can also now reveal Charlise suffered a fatal gunshot wound and that’s how she died,’ NSW Police Detective Superintendent Daniel Doherty said on Tuesday.
‘We’ve been searching the Mount Wilson area and are now looking for a firearm.’
Justin Stein (pictured) has been charged with Charlise’s murder and will next face court in March
He added the fatal bullet appeared to have been fired from a ‘small-calibre’ gun.
Police allege Charlise was killed between the night of Tuesday, January 11 and Wednesday, January 12.
‘Justin was alone with Charlise on the Tuesday night,’ Det Supt Doherty said.
‘We allege the murder happened on Tuesday night or the early hours of Wednesday morning’.
Det Supt Doherty said police allege the blue plastic barrel came from the Mount Wilson property where Charlise was allegedly murdered.
Ms Mutten – who is pregnant with Stein’s baby – suffered a ‘medical episode’ about the time she contacted police on January 14 to say her daughter was missing.
Charlise Mutten is pictured. ‘I can also now reveal Charlise suffered a fatal gunshot wound and that’s how she died,’ NSW Police Detective Superintendent Daniel Doherty said on Tuesday
Kallista Mutten (pictured) has finally been interviewed by police after spending days in hospital
She had been in the Blue Mountains Hospital at Katoomba since before her interview on Friday.
The mother has since been moved to alternative accommodation, police said.
On Friday, detectives pulled apart the rundown caravan where Charlise’s mother was staying before her daughter was allegedly murdered.
Detectives and forensic officers have swarmed over every inch of the white 1970s van and a nearby cabin in the grounds of the Riviera Ski Gardens at Lower Portland on the Hawkesbury River, 80km north-east of Sydney.
They spent hours meticulously searching the two locations and took away multiple bags of potential evidence for forensic analysis while two men apparently under police guard sat motionless nearby, watching on.
A CCTV camera allegedly filmed his red ute driving in Drummoyne towards Five Dock Bay Boat Ramp at 7.20pm on Thursday, January 13
The Riviera Ski Gardens caravan park is about 20km east of where police found Charlise’s body inside a barrel on a bank of the Colo River.
Homicide detectives are yet to identify a motive behind the alleged murder of Charlise and are trying to piece together why the girl and her mother were staying at the caravan park in the lead-up to the child’s death.
The park is about a 90-minute drive from the Stein family estate Wildenstein at Mount Wilson where police allege Charlise was killed.
It’s understood Charlise and Ms Mutten had been spending time both at the caravan park and at Wildenstein.
Charlise lives with her grandparents in the Gold Coast but had visited her mother during the school holidays.
Stein will next appear in court on March 18.
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.
January 19: Police reveal Charlise’s stepdad Justin Stein has been charged with murder after finding a body in a barrel overnight
Later, police reveal they have not yet been able to interview Charlise’s mother because she remains in hospital under guard and is difficult to access
January 25: Police reveal further CCTV of a red ute travelling between Marsden Park and Drummoyne as they continue to investigate Charlise’s death
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