The stepfather and suspected killer of a nine-year-old girl has appeared in court on charges of murder and child abuse.
A man accused of murdering his nine-year-old stepdaughter while the family was vacationing in the Blue Mountains will remain behind bars in remand for the foreseeable future.
Justin Stein, 31, appeared at Penrith Local Court on Friday after being charged with a range of offenses including murder and possession of child pornography.
Police allege he murdered his fiancée’s nine-year-old daughter, Charlise Mutten, whose body was found in a plastic barrel that had been dumped in the Colo River in January.
Charlise died of a single gunshot wound after going missing while the family was staying at Mr. Stein’s family home in Mt Wilson.
The disappearance of the Tweed Heads schoolgirl on January 14 sparked a lengthy multi-agency search of the surrounding bush which involved hundreds of volunteers.
Police allege Mr Stein murdered Charlise either on the evening of January 11 or in the early hours of January 12, when they were alone.
Mr Stein is believed to have then traveled from the Blue Mountains to the northwest and western suburbs of Sydney before returning to the Colo River near Hawkesbury where he disposed of his body.
A police search of the Mount Wilson bush on February 3 uncovered two firearms and ammunition. Police allege Mr Stein stole the two firearms from a nearby property in August 2021 in an aggravated burglary, for which he has also been charged.
Police do not believe the rifle and shotgun were used to kill Charlise.
While being held in Silverwater Jail on charges of murder, the former trader was charged in May with two counts of possession of an unauthorized firearm, two counts of possession of an unregistered firearm and one count of possession of ammunition without a license.
Mr Stein has also been charged with two counts of possession of child pornography, which police say is not related to his stepdaughter.
Penrith Local Court was told on Friday that Mr Stein had not pleaded to the nine charges against him.
His case was adjourned until September 2 to allow all evidence to be served on the defence.
The 31-year-old will remain in pre-trial detention for the next seven weeks until his next court date. He has been behind bars since his arrest in January.
Originally published as Charlise Mutten’s stepfather and alleged killer will remain in jail