The Gold Coast community is mourning the loss of schoolgirl Charlise Mutten who was allegedly murdered while on a family holiday in New South Wales’ Blue Mountains last week.
- The Gold Coast community has paid floral tributes to slain schoolgirl Charlise Mutten
- Tweed Heads Public School said it was ‘devastated’ by the news of the death of a ‘much-loved’ pupil
- Gold Coast Police said they would help NSW, if needed, with the investigation
Charlise lived with her grandmother in Coolangatta, on the Queensland/New South Wales border, and attended school near Tweed Heads State School.
The school said it was “devastated” and “shocked” by the news overnight.
She was vacationing with her mother Kallista Mutten and partner Justin Stein at a wedding and reception venue in Mount Wilson when the nine-year-old girl went missing on Thursday afternoon and was reported missing on Friday.
Mr. Stein, 32, was arrested and charged in Sydney in a unit in Surry Hills last night and will appear in Central Local Court today.
It is understood the body of a child was found in a barrel near the Colo River, about an hour from the Blue Mountains, where police carried out a search on Tuesday evening.
The child’s body has not yet been formally identified, but police say the remains found in the barrel are compatible with Charlise Mutten.
The tight-knit community of Coolangatta-Tweed where Charlise and her grandmother resided was shaken by the news, with floral tributes already laid outside the school fence where she was due to return next week.
The school released a statement this morning saying it was ‘devastated’ and would offer support to students and staff.
“We are absolutely devastated to hear the news from Charlise this morning,” the statement read.
“Our hearts go out to his family, we can’t begin to imagine the distress they must be feeling.
“Charlise was a much loved member of our school who brightened up all of our days, every day.
“Today we will be in touch with the Department of Education to explore options to support our students and staff when school resumes.”
The school shared the last photo it had with Charlise at a pitch day in 2021 where she received a class award for literacy.
Currumbin MP Laura Gerber, who represents the South Gold Coast community, said the community would do their best to support the family, with a candlelight vigil already scheduled for tonight outside Tweed Heads Public School .
“I’ve reached out to the school community, but I think the community really wants to wrap their arms around the family and be there in any way they can to let them know they care.
“I think the feeling at the moment is that they remember Charlise as the sweet, beautiful little girl she was.
“All we can do is show them we care. [the family] and we love them and let them express themselves as they wish…and do everything we can to support them.”
Gold Coast Police Acting Chief Superintendent Rhys Wildman said he had offered his help to the NSW investigative team if any follow-up inquiries were to be made locally.
“Even if a man has been charged in connection with the case, there are still substantive inquiries that need to be made to close investigative leads, so that’s where we may be able to help. “
Acting Chief Superintendent Wildman said any loss of life was a tragedy.
“Losing your life in such circumstances, and especially such a young girl,” he said.
“It reminds us all to be very careful of our loved ones and to support those around us.