Gut-wrenching scenes as friends and family of Charlise Mutten pay tribute to the schoolgirl in emotional vigil after she was allegedly murdered by her stepdad before her body was found in a barrel
- Hundreds of devastated mourners have held candlelit vigil for Charlise Mutten
- About 150 people gathered outside Tweed Heads Public School on Wednesday
- Friends, family and fellow students paid tribute with balloons, flowers and cards
- Missing schoolgirl’s body was reportedly found inside a barrel on Tuesday night
- The nine-year-old’s stepfather Justin Stein, 31, has been charged with murder
Hundreds of devastated mourners have held a candlelit vigil to pay their respects to schoolgirl Charlise Mutten after her body was tragically discovered in a barrel.
Friends, family and fellow students of the nine-year-old congregated outside the front gates of Tweed Heads Public School on the Gold Coast on Wednesday night.
Many of the young mourners held candles as they stood outside the gates adorned with countless bunches of flowers, pink balloons, cards and photos of Charlise.
The schoolgirl’s body was found in a barrel on Tuesday night in scrub near the Colo River – an hour from where she disappeared on a private property in Mount Wilson – in the NSW Blue Mountains.
The nine-year-old’s stepfather Justin Stein, 31, has been charged with murder and was arrested inside a Surry Hills unit shortly after her body was found.
Hundreds of devastated mourners (pictured) have held a candlelit vigil to pay their respects to schoolgirl Charlise Mutten
Many of the young mourners held candles as they stood outside the gates (pictured)
Friends, family and fellow students of the nine-year-old congregated outside the front gates of Tweed Heads Public School on the Gold Coast on Wednesday night
The emotional vigil began at about 7:15pm outside the school where Charlise had been a student and was attended by about 150 people despite sprinklings of rain.
A message on the school’s notice board read ‘don’t count the days, make the days count’ with the school releasing a statement on Wednesday morning.
‘Charlise was a much loved member of our school who brightened all our days, every day,’ the statement read, adding the school was ‘absolutely devastated’ by the news.
It was accompanied by a touching photo of the nine-year-old holding a literacy award she had received at the end-of-year presentation day.
Police will allege Stein spent up to five hours driving around Sydney with his fiancé’s daughter’s body in the back of a boat, the Daily Telegraph reports.
The 31-year-old spent hours deciding where to leave her body before dumping it near a river, police will claim.
Detectives believe Charlise’s mother Kallista Mutten had left her daughter in the care of Stein last Tuesday night – the last time she was confirmed to be alive.
Police will allege she was killed within the following 15 hours.
Charlise Mutten (pictured) has been remembered as a much-loved member of Tweed Heads Public School in a statement from the school released on Wednesday morning
‘Charlise was a much loved member of our school who brightened all our days, every day,’ a statement from her school read (pictured, mourners hold each other during the vigil)
A message on the school’s notice board read ‘don’t count the days, make the days count’ during the emotional service
The schoolgirl, who was under the fulltime custody of her grandparents in the Gold Coast, was spending the holidays with her mother and stepfather at the Blue Mountains property when she was reported missing on Friday.
Homicide detectives retraced Stein’s steps using CCTV after he allegedly bought five 20kg sandbags from Bunnings, fuelled up a boat, then tried to launch it from an inner-Sydney dock.
After finding the boat was inoperable, police will allege he then tried to dump the barrel containing Charlise’s body in Colo River but was unable to roll it in due to the weight of the sandbags.
It is alleged he instead left her in bushland, where she was later discovered.
A blue tarpaulin was also found in the back of the boat. The barrel has now been seized and will be forensically examined.
Police revealed in a press conference on Wednesday they will allege Stein discussed buying sandbags and boat fuel before later travelling to the riverbed where his stepdaughter’s body was later found.
More to come.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk