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Prime Minister Scott Morrison choked up during a televised press conference as a reporter told him a man has been charged with the murder of nine-year-old schoolgirl Charlise Mutten whose body was found in a barrel overnight. 

Earlier in the same media briefing Mr Morrison had expressed hope that the child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, would be found alive – unaware that her remains had been discovered inside a barrel in scrub alongside the Colo River, an hour from where she vanished in Mount Wilson, in the NSW Blue Mountains.

‘My thoughts and prayers frankly are with the family today and that little girl,’ Mr Morrison said. 

‘And I hope she’s alright. I really do. I’m sure we all do. Let’s hope that that has a good ending.’

At the end of the answer Mr Morrison briefly noted that he had not been updated on the case before the press conference. 

Towards the end of the press conference Mr Morrison was informed that the girl’s body had been found.

‘I’m sorry. I hadn’t seen that before I came out today. That is devastating news,’ a shaken Mr Morrison responded. 

‘I’m very sorry that… since early this morning, I’ve been engaged in other issues, as I’m sure you can imagine. 

‘Having heard that news, that’s… it’s just… devastating.’ 

Asked about the case of at a press conference on Wednesday morning, Mr Morrison said he had been following the case 'privately' and hoped the girl would be found alive. After being told her remains had been found, Mr Morrison choked up and said the news was 'devastating'

Asked about the case of at a press conference on Wednesday morning, Mr Morrison said he had been following the case 'privately' and hoped the girl would be found alive. After being told her remains had been found, Mr Morrison choked up and said the news was 'devastating'

Asked about the case of at a press conference on Wednesday morning, Mr Morrison said he had been following the case ‘privately’ and hoped the girl would be found alive. After being told her remains had been found, Mr Morrison choked up and said the news was ‘devastating’

It comes as police allege the young girl may have been dead for up to three days before her mother reported her missing.  

Police revealed in court on Wednesday morning the nine-year-old was allegedly murdered sometime between 7pm on Tuesday January 11 and 10am January 12. They were not notified of her disappearance until 8.20am on Friday, January 14. 

She had arrived in Sydney from the Gold Coast, where she was living with her grandparents, just days earlier to spend the school holidays with her mother and the mother’s fiancé. She allegedly went missing from a multi-million dollar property in Mount Wilson.

Charlise’s 31-year-old stepdad Justin Stein was arrested at a unit in Surry Hills in central Sydney on Tuesday night and charged with murder. He appeared in Central Local Court on Wednesday morning where he did not apply for bail and it was formally refused.

His lawyer asked the court for a 12 week adjournment to seek a mental health assessment, noting he’s been on ‘long term medication’.

The young girl may have been dead for up to three days before she was reported missing by her mother

The young girl may have been dead for up to three days before she was reported missing by her mother

The young girl may have been dead for up to three days before she was reported missing by her mother

Detectives had already scoured the Colo and Hawkesbury rivers for signs of the girl after receiving information a boat was used in the hours after she vanished.

Police will allege the accused tried to get the barrel to the river but couldn’t drag it through dense bushland and left it abandoned in scrub nearby.

CCTV footage was used to trace the movements of the accused, including the moment he allegedly purchased sandbags and petrol for a small boat.

However, police allege the boat would not start and the accused instead opted to head to nearby scub, which is where the girl’s body was found.

A vehicle was seized in Penrith in the city’s west late last week. Police said they had tracked the movements of the car throughout the investigation.  

An eyewitness also told Daily Mail Australia they had seen a car leaving the property the girl was last seen at in the early hours of Friday morning.

The young girl attended a local primary school south of the border, where she was known as a spritely and cheerful student. 

The scene on the Colo River where a barrel containing the remains of the missing nine-year-old girl were discovered

The scene on the Colo River where a barrel containing the remains of the missing nine-year-old girl were discovered

The scene on the Colo River where a barrel containing the remains of the missing nine-year-old girl were discovered

Tributes have poured in online in the wake of her sudden death.

Her ‘shattered’ father, who also cannot be identified, shared an emotional tribute on Wednesday morning, hours after learning of her death.

‘Goodbye beautiful girl… We will get answers for you baby, and we will honour you properly,’ he said.

‘You have captured the hearts of the nation and the world, and now those hearts are breaking with mine.’

Her father vowed this ‘would not be the end of [her] or [her] story’ in his statement.

‘This doesn’t happen. Kids need to be safe. What is wrong with people?’

PRIME MINISTER SCOTT MORRISON’S STATEMENT 

The Prime Minister released a statement on the case of the nine-year-old girl following this morning’s press conference. It reads:

‘I was devastated to hear the awful news this morning the body of a young child has been discovered during the investigation into the disappearance of a 9-year-old girl in the Blue Mountains.

‘It is a tragic situation for the family and the community.

‘I can’t imagine the grief the family are going through. My thoughts and prayers are with them at this terrible time.

‘I also thank all those who have been providing the family with support over these extraordinarily difficult days, including NSW Police and the search and investigation teams.’

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Source: DailyMail

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