Dad With Domestic Violence Charges Disappears With Wife and Sons Who Texted They're on 'Vacation' 2 Months Ago

Stephen Lutz, Monica Lutz, Aiden Lutz and Nicolas Lutz, photographed from left to right.
Stephen Lutz, Monica Lutz, Aiden Lutz and Nicolas Lutz, photographed from left to right.Brittany Lutz

Stephen Lutz, 44, has various domestic battery and possession of meth charges from previous years, and has mentioned a “need to get away," his estranged daughter Brittany Lutz, 20, told Inside Edition Digital.

Where are the Lutzs? The last time anyone heard from the Illinois family-of-four was in early February, and a recent search of their home seemed to suggest Stephen and Monica Lutz, along with their young sons, Aiden, 11, and Nicolas, 9, have vanished from the face of the earth, their daughter Brittany Lutz tells Inside Edition.

“They didn’t take anything with them. All their clothes are still here. Toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, soap, it’s all still there,” Brittany says. “They had brand-new shoes they didn’t bring with them. They’re home-schooled, but all their school-work books are still sitting on the table.”

Brittany is estranged from her dad, Stephen, and stepmom, Monica, who have been together for about 16 years, but calls and texts her half-brother Aiden regularly. The last thing Aiden texted her on February 10 was that he was on “vacation, but I don’t know where,” and that “it’s boring … there’s nothing to do when we’re not going somewhere,” according to screenshots sent to Inside Edition Digital.

Her texts to her brother since have gone unanswered. Newton Police say the family’s cellphones have been disconnected, they said in a statement.

Brittany Lutz/Inside Edition Digital

“I just want them to come home,” Brittany said. “I know those boys don’t want to be where they are now.”

Her dad, Stephen Lutz, is currently out on bond for a domestic violence charge stemming from January on the condition he does not have contact with Monica.

Stephen’s pre-trial hearing was set on the morning of March 28, to which he failed to appear, a spokesperson with the circuit court said. Inside Edition Digital has not heard back from the public defender representing him in this charge.

Stephen also has various other charges, the earliest stemming from 1996, with several of them being domestic violence-related charges.

More recently, he was charged with soliciting a minor in 2020. His felony indecent solicitation charge was dismissed, and he pled guilty to obscenity, court records showed. Stephen was sentenced to a $1,500 fine and six months supervision.

“I have a daughter, I’m not going to bring her around that,” Brittany said, explaining that she cut ties with her dad ever since that incident. She did reach out to her dad on February 14, shortly after last hearing from her brother.

He responded, telling her that “they aren’t together and he’s not allowed to be around them,” Brittany said.

Since becoming estranged from her dad, Brittany has seen him around town and at her grandparents’ home a few times, and suspected he may have been using meth, she said. He has a history of addiction, and was sentenced to 30 months’ probation in 2006 for possession of meth, court records showed.

“My dad has always been odd. He’s just a weird person anyway, but I just couldn’t imagine he would hurt his children,” said Brittany, who grew up living with him and Monica. “But I mean, with everything I know now, I have no idea. I have no idea what he would do.”

She recalled moments from her childhood when her dad allegedly told the family that a rubber clown mask with a red mohawk he kept in the closet was telling him to kill them all.

Stephen had a collection of decorative masks, with at least five in the bedroom. Brittany recalled one of the masks looking like a bird, with beaks and a feather, and at least one other clown mask.

While nothing appeared to have been taken from the home before the Lutz family was last heard from, “I was never able to find that mask,” Brittany said.

However, that was not the only finding from the recent search of the Lutz home that led her to worry, she said. “There’s a toilet in the living room and a deep freezer in the living room,” she said. “It’s not plugged in. It’s just filled with a bunch of random stuff.”

Brittany said their Christmas tree was still up during the April search, and “there’s three fake skeletons in the living room. Two are sitting on the couch beside each other, and one is on the deep freezer.”

“It looks like a tornado went through,” she said. “Their house was never like that. It almost looks like two different houses.”

Brittany said someone from the Department of Children & Family Services paid a visit to the home in January, and told her that the home was not in that condition when they were there.

Newton Police issued an “attempt to locate” on February 14, and Illinois State Police and the FBI have since joined the search for the family, WCIA reported.

The Missing Persons Awareness Network has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for an award to anyone with information that leads to their return.

Anyone with relevant information is encouraged to contact the Newton Police Department at 618-783-8478.

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