Hundreds gather to mourn Charlise Mutten
A sombre, candlelight vigil has been held for nine-year-old Charlise Mutten, who was allegedly murdered while holidaying with family in the NSW Blue Mountains.
The vigil, held at Tweed Heads near the Queensland-NSW border, saw locals gather from 7.15 pm on Wednesday night.
Mourners held candles and left bouquets and messages outside the gates of Tweed Heads Public School, the school Charlise had been attending.
More than 100 people gathered for the candlelight vigil held for Charlise Mutten outside Tweed Heads Public School, which she attended. Images: 9News
Despite the light rain, about 150 people gathered outside the school for the vigil, where several speakers shared emotional tributes to the young girl.
“Charlise loved coming to our little lunchtime drama club,” said Emily Carey, a teacher at Tweed Heads Public School.
“She was always funny, very entertaining, and full of wit.”
Another message, written by a classmate, read: “Dear Charlise, I was in your class in year two, it makes me really sad what happened to you.
“You were a really nice person and I wish you were coming back to school with me.
“Rest in Peace.”
A message on the school’s notice board read: “don’t count the days, make the days count”.
In a statement on Wednesday morning, the school said it was “absolutely devastated” by the young girl’s death.
“Charlise was a much loved member of our school who brightened all our days, every day,” the statement read.
The school shared a recent photo of Charlise holding a literacy award she received at their end-of-year presentation day.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also shared his condolences for the family after the five-day search for the missing girl tragically ended.
“You hope for the best, you pray for it, but it doesn’t always occur,” Mr Morrison said.
Students who knew and attended school with Charlise were among those who left messages for her at Wednesday night’s vigil. Images: 9News
Charlise’s body was discovered near the Colo River after police and volunteers from the Rural Fire Service and SES searched bushland around the Wildenstein Private Gardens at Mount Wilson, about 120 kilometres northwest of Sydney.
Detectives searched the property - where Charlise was last seen alive - for several hours on Tuesday before her body was found.
Her stepfather, Justin Stein, has been arrested and charged with her murder, with police alleging he attempted to dispose of her body in inner Sydney before travelling back to the Colo River.
Mr Stein appeared before a magistrate’s court on Wednesday, where he was refused bail.
The case is due back in court on March 18.
Investigations into Charlise’s death are ongoing, with police yet to determine how she died or whether there was a motive behind her murder.
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