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New clues raise hopes of a miracle in the search for missing girl Charlise Mutten, Mt Wilson

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Pictured: Charlise Mutten, age nine

Pictured: Charlise Mutten, age nine

Small footprints have been found during the frantic search for a nine-year-old girl who mysteriously vanished from a lavish wedding venue four days ago – raising hopes that she could be found alive.

Charlise Mutten was last seen on the grounds of a luxurious Blue Mountains estate on Thursday afternoon, where she was visiting her mother Kallista and Kallista’s fiance, Justin Stein, for the school holidays.

Charlise was reported missing at about 8.20am the next day – with police on Monday appearing to launch a renewed search of the Stein family’s sprawling 12.5 acre estate, Wildenstein, a popular wedding venue at Mount Wilson.

Daily Mail Australia understands detectives are planning to question Charlise’s mother, 31, later on Monday. 

Kallista collapsed and was taken to hospital shortly after her daughter was reported missing. There is no suggestion she or her fiancé were involved in her daughter’s disappearance.  

Police and rescue teams have kicked off a fourth day of scouring dense bushland, fire trails, murky ponds and rivers in 30 degree heat following a promising development on Sunday.

Officers swooped on the venue at about 11.30am on Monday morning, and police ordered the media to ‘leave, now!’ from outside the gates of the retreat – moments after plain clothes child protection squad officers drove into the property. 

Charlise Mutten was last seen on Thursday afternoon. She was reported missing on Friday

Charlise Mutten was last seen on Thursday afternoon. She was reported missing on Friday 

Five police cars swarmed the scene on Monday morning, with officers telling the media to'leave, now!' (pictured)

Five police cars swarmed the scene on Monday morning, with officers telling the media to ‘leave, now!’ (pictured)

Rural Fire Service volunteers found a ‘very small and barefooted’ footprint along a trail – just kilometres away from the popular venue.

NSW Police Chief Inspector Gary Sims also told reporters ‘certain items’ have been found which ‘unfortunately haven’t led to anything that gives us a definite indication of her location’. 

A convoy of five police vehicles and detectives on foot entered the Wildenstein property around 11.30am on Monday, with one detective ordering the media to leave from outside the gates of the five-hectare retreat.

A police bus followed by unmarked police cars rolled through the gates as a uniformed officer stood guard.

Searchers who set off to comb vast areas of bush have been encouraged to call out Charlise’s name as they conduct line searches.

The NSW Homicide Squad is assisting with inquiries. 

Charlise Mutten (pictured as a toddler with her mother) usually lives with her grandmother Deborah, but was visiting her mum Kallista Mutten during school holidays

Charlise Mutten (pictured as a toddler with her mother) usually lives with her grandmother Deborah, but was visiting her mum Kallista Mutten during school holidays

Charlise Mutten, 9, was staying with her mother Kallista Mutten when she disappeared on Thursday at a sprawling private wedding venue owned by the family of her fiancé, Justin Stein

Charlise Mutten, 9, was staying with her mother Kallista Mutten when she disappeared on Thursday at a sprawling private wedding venue owned by the family of her fiancé, Justin Stein

Pictured: A police rescue van is parked near the scene where Charlise Mutten went missing

Pictured: A police rescue van is parked near the scene where Charlise Mutten went missing

More than 90 Rural Fire Service officers have been deployed in groups of seven to ten across Mount Irvine and Mount Wilson to search for Charlise, and items of the pink and black clothing she was wearing when she vanished. 

Neighbours told detectives they saw a car with no headlights driving away from the area at 4.30am on Friday. 

That evening, police impounded a vehicle in Sydney’s west.

Acting Superintendent John Nelson said: ‘A 31-year-old man from this location has been helping us with our inquiries.’

Police divers searched the waters of the Hawkesbury River on Saturday and seized a boat, which is being scanned for fingerprints.

Police divers searched the waters of the Hawkesbury River on Saturday (pictured) and seized a boat, which is being scanned for fingerprints

Police divers searched the waters of the Hawkesbury River on Saturday (pictured) and seized a boat, which is being scanned for fingerprints

Emergency services, Polair, and RFS volunteers (pictured) began scouring the area after she was reported missing on Friday

Emergency services, Polair, and RFS volunteers (pictured) began scouring the area after she was reported missing on Friday

Pictured: Emergency vehicles stationed at the scene on Monday morning, four days after Charlise Mutten went missing

Pictured: Emergency vehicles stationed at the scene on Monday morning, four days after Charlise Mutten went missing

Following her daughter’s disappearance, Ms Mutten collapsed and was taken to hospital. Mr Stein spoke to police on Friday. 

‘For any parent this is a distressing scenario, so yes she is quite distressed so we’re providing her with support,’ acting superintendent John Nelson said. 

The nine-year-old is described as being of Caucasian appearance with brown hair and blue eyes, and is between 130 and 140 centimetres tall.

She was last seen wearing a pink round-neck shirt, knee-length black skirt and pink Nike thongs.

Kallista Mutten's fiancé Justin Stein (pictured) went to Penrith on Friday to speak with NSW police

Kallista Mutten’s fiancé Justin Stein (pictured) went to Penrith on Friday to speak with NSW police

A distressed Kallista Mutten is consoled by emergency workers on Saturday

Kallista Mutten pictured smiling with her daughter Charlise

Her distressed mum Kallista Mutten (pictured, left and right, with Charlise) was consoled by emergency workers on Saturday

NSW Police told Daily Mail Australia that ‘all lines of investigation’ remain open in the baffling case. 

Mount Wilson is a tight knit, wealthy community of so-called ‘country estates’ owned by professional people. 

Dotted with large well-kept gardens, it is also frequented by walkers for its remote bush walking trails.

Charlise is described as being of Caucasian appearance with brown hair (pictured, Charlise Mutten

Charlise is described as being of Caucasian appearance with brown hair (pictured, Charlise Mutten

Specialist teams are seen scouring the bush in the continuing search for the nine-year-old. Pictured: RFS volunteers at the scene

Specialist teams are seen scouring the bush in the continuing search for the nine-year-old. Pictured: RFS volunteers at the scene

Police are treating the property as a crime scene, and are trying to determine how she went missing. Pictured: Detectives on Monday morning

Police are treating the property as a crime scene, and are trying to determine how she went missing. Pictured: Detectives on Monday morning 

Wildenstein, where Buddy and Jessica Franklin were married in 2016, is operated by James Stein – the brother of Kallista Mutten’s fiance – an interior designer and stylist, along with his husband.

NSW RFS Commander Peter Bennett told Daily Mail Australia the search parties had reached the ‘saturation point’ of available officers from four different stations at Chifley, Macarthur, Hawkesbury and the Blue Mountains.

He described the search areas as ‘inhospitable’ and the task as ‘exhausting’. 

He said his officers were on the lookout for traces of Charlise ‘or anything unusual’.

Around ten groups of firies will each search an area of 10km today.

‘It’s pretty thick scrub,’ he said, ‘walking in line through that is exhausting.’

NSW police sent out a geo-targeting text message to all local residents in the area on Friday evening to inform them of Charlise's disappearance. Pictured: Police at the scene

NSW police sent out a geo-targeting text message to all local residents in the area on Friday evening to inform them of Charlise’s disappearance. Pictured: Police at the scene

The property, dubbed Wildenstein, by the Stein family is run by Justin's brother James

The property, dubbed Wildenstein, by the Stein family is run by Justin’s brother James

The sprawling 12 acre property that Charlise was staying at with her mum Kallista was owned by her fiancé Justin Stein's family

The sprawling 12 acre property that Charlise was staying at with her mum Kallista was owned by her fiancé Justin Stein’s family

Storms prevented a PolAir helicopter, which used thermal imaging technology, from searching overnight on Friday, but it was deployed again on Saturday. 

Rural fire service volunteers have used ‘line searching’ tactics and marked out any items found in their painstaking search.  

NSW Police sent out multiple geo-targeting text messages to all residents in the area on Friday and Saturday evening to inform them of Charlise’s disappearance and request help.

They also asked social media users to share the missing girl’s photo widely.

Police are appealing for anyone with information about her whereabouts to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

TIMELINE OF CHARLISE MUTTEN’S DISAPPEARANCE

January 13: Charlise Mutten, nine, was last seen wearing a round-neck pink top, knee-length black skirt and pink Nike thongs when she disappeared from Wildenstein, Mount Wilson, north-west of Sydney. 

January 14: Charlise was reported missing at 8.20am. Police flocked to the 12.5-acre wedding venue and established a crime scene.

Neighbours told detectives they saw a car at 4.20am on Friday, with no headlights on.

Investigators seized a Holden Colorado ute on High Street in Penrith for forensic testing.

Her mother Kallista Mutten, 31, collapsed and was taken to hospital.

Ms Mutten’s fiancé Justin Stein, whose family owns the lavish property, spoke with police in Penrith. 

January 15: Homicide detectives took over the search.

Police divers seized a boat in the Hawkesbury River and scanned it for fingerprints. The boat will also be kept for forensic testing.

Investigators continued to scour fire trails in dense bushland surrounding the property. 

January 16: RFS volunteers found ‘very small and barefooted’ prints along a fire trail.

‘Certain items’ have been uncovered by detectives, but police have not been able to determine the schoolgirl’s whereabouts.

January 17: A convoy of five police vehicles and detectives on foot entered the property around 11.30am.

One detective ordered media to ‘leave, now!’ from outside the gates of the five hectare wedding venue retreat

A police bus followed by unmarked police cars rolled through the gates as a uniformed officer stood guard. 

Earlier, plain clothes child protection squad officers drove into the property. 

Ms Mutten will be questioned by police.

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