The estranged father of the former private schoolboy charged with the murder of Charlise Mutton has spoken out for the first time, as his mother also comes forward to defend the accused killer.
James Stein said while he had never met the nine-year-old schoolgirl - whose body was found in a barrel near the Colo River - he felt 'heartbroken' by the sad news.
Mr Stein revealed he had not seen his son Justin, 31, who was charged with murder shortly after Charlise's body was found, for 'some time'.
Annemie Stein told the Daily Telegraph her Cranbrook-educated son had had a 'tortured life' and said she didn't approve of his relationship with Kallista Mutten.
The estranged father of Charlise Mutten's accused killer Justin Stein, 31, (pictured) has said the schoolgirls death has left him 'heartbroken' despite never meeting the nine-year-old
Stein currently remains behind bars on remand, after being charged with the murder of his nine-year-old stepdaughter Charlise (pictured) shortly after her body was found
The pair shared a whirlwind romance and got engaged after just over a year together, with Ms Mutten, 31, now reportedly pregnant with Stein's child.
'You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink, or choose their partners, and sometimes it ends up in a headache like this one,' Ms Stein said.
The 56-year-old said it would be painful for any parent to have a child go through what her son was experiencing because 'parents know their children'.
Ms Stein described what would have been her step-granddaughter as a 'lovely' and 'beautiful' little girl who didn't deserve to die.
Her son currently remains behind bars on remand, after being charged with the murder of his nine-year-old stepdaughter on Tuesday night.
Ms Mutten left her daughter in his care last Tuesday, and court documents show detectives allege Stein killed her in the following 15 hours.
Stein's mother Annemie Stein said she didn't approve of her son's relationship with Charlise's mother Kallista Mutten - who is reportedly pregnant with his child (pictured)
Stein (pictured) is described by his mother as having had a 'tortured' upbringing despite being educated at one of Sydney's most prestigious high schools
Detectives haven't had the opportunity to ask Ms Mutten (pictured) key questions about the alleged events after she suffered a 'medical episode' at the Wildenstein estate
Detectives haven't had the opportunity to ask Ms Mutten key questions about the alleged events after the reportedly pregnant mother suffered a 'medical episode' and collapsed one day into the search for her daughter.
The wealthy antique dealer Stein family have owned the Wildenstein property where Charlise was holidaying with their son and her biological mother for two decades.
The sprawling estate is currently being operated as a wedding venue by Justin's older brother James and his husband Keegan Buzza with the younger Stein brother staying in a shack on the five-hectare property in past years.
The nine-year-old normally lived fulltime with her grandparents, Deborah and Clint Mutten in the Queensland border town of Coolangatta, but arrived at Wildenstein during the Christmas-New Year school holidays.
Kallista Mutten had relinquished guardianship of Charlise after developing a methamphetamine addiction, failed attempts to undergo rehabilitation and a two year prison stretch for killing a female friend she drove into a river while high on ice.
Stein stayed a shack on the five-hectare Wildenstein property (pictured) in past years
Charlise (pictured) had been staying at the Wildenstein property with Stein and her biological mother over the New Years-Christmas holidays when she first went missing
Police allege Charlise Mutten, 9, was murdered and her body encased in a barrel which was towed for hours in a boat before being dumped on a lonely riverbank in dense bushland
Police allege Stein drove approximately 200km towing a boat loaded with a plastic barrel carrying the remains of the nine-year-old over a circuitous five-hour trek.
The barrel allegedly lay under a blue tarpaulin in the boat towed by Stein's red Holden ute from the Blue Mountains to Bunnings at Marsden Park, a nearby BP petrol station, and then on to two Sydney boat ramps.
Attempts to dispose of the schoolgirl's remains in the water are said by police to have been thwarted by Stein's inability to launch the motor boat taken from his family's luxury Blue Mountains property.
In the end, after failing to start the boat and take the barrel now also weighted down with sand to sink into deeper water, Stein allegedly took off for the Colo River.
On the afternoon of Thursday, January 13, on a river bank around 80km northwest of Sydney, police say the 31-year-old pulled up his ute in bushland.
Stein then allegedly tried to drag the heavy barrel to the river's edge and roll it in, but the weight of the sand prevented him doing so and finally he was forced to abandon it in the scrub.
Police vehicles and officers on foot made their way down the driveway to Wildenstein for another round of interviews
Police (above) at the Colo River where Justin Stein allegedly dumped Charlise's body in a barrel five days before the nine-year-old's decomposed remains were found
Charlise's remains lay in the barrel for five days as emergency workers searched fruitlessly for the missing girl around Mount Wilson, 65km further west.
That was until the afternoon of Tuesday, January 18 when police, acting on GPS data, located the barrel in the bush and made the gruesome discovery of Charlise's decomposing remains.
Police allege that between 7pm on Tuesday, January 11 and 10am on Wednesday January 12 - when Ms Mutten is said to have been absent from Wildenstein - Stein murdered Charlise.
On Thursday, January 13, Stein left the Wildenstein property at Mount Wilson in his Holden Colorado, police say, towing a boat carrying the barrel with Charlise's body inside.
A blue tarpaulin is believed to have been