Stephen Lutz, Wife and Sons Found in Arizona 2 Months After Vanishing, But Daughter Says She Is Still Worried
Brittany Lutz, who cut off ties with her dad after he was charged with soliciting a minor in 2020, tells Inside Edition Digital she is still concerned.
The Lutz family, an Illinois family last seen two months ago, has been located in Arizona, but more questions remain as their loved ones back home continue to worry about their wellbeing.
Stephen Lutz, his wife Monica and two sons Aiden and Nicolas were located in Cochise County thanks to license plate readers, according to a statement released by the Newton Police Department. All their phones had been disconnected, officials said.
“A deputy first made contact with Monica and the boys without Stephen present. All members of the family are safe,” according to the press release. “The deputy stated the boys appear healthy.”
The deputy later “made contact with Stephen,” and Newton Police Department’s Chief Riley Britton said he spoke to Stephen on the phone Monday.
During the call, Stephen said he had no intention of returning, and that he plans to sell the home in Illinois, Britton said, according to WCIA. Britton also mentioned Stephen said specifically he did not want anyone knowing where they were, WCIA reported.
“We’ve had concerns," Britton said in reference to the wellbeing of Monica and sons Aiden and Nicholas, WCIA reported. "In this case, we’re getting the story that they decided together to move away as a family."
But Brittany Lutz, the estranged daughter of dad Stephen Lutz, previously told Inside Edition Digital she was told by Aiden that they were “on vacation” the last time they spoke, though he didn’t know where they were.
Brittany also said they didn’t seem to bring anything from their home before they abruptly left.
“They didn’t take anything with them. All their clothes are still here. Toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, soap, it’s all still there,” Brittany said. “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.”
In the two months since Brittany last heard from them, state police tracked Stephen’s truck to various locations across the country, including Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico before it was eventually found in Arizona.
Brittany continues to be sad, angry and confused, Gia Wright of Illinois-based nonprofit Missing Persons Awareness Network tells Inside Edition Digital.
“She feels like she’s never going to see them again,” Wright says. “She kept saying, ‘This can’t be over. This just can’t be over.’”
Brittany said she has not been able to speak with her brothers since the last text Aiden sent her in early February. Authorities had reportedly told her that Stephen “didn’t want Brittany or anyone else to know where they were,” but that they “weren’t coming back and they were fine,” Wright says.
Stephen is currently out on bond for a domestic violence charge on the condition he does not have contact with Monica. There is also reportedly a warrant for his arrest in Illinois as a result of his missed pre-trial hearing on March 26.
Inside Edition Digital has reached out to Newton Police to confirm the warrant. The public defender representing Stephen on the domestic violence charge did not return Inside Edition Digital’s earlier request for comment.
Stephen also has various other charges, the earliest stemming from 1996, including several connected to domestic violence-related incidents, according to court records.
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.
Brittany, 24, said she cut ties with her dad after that alleged incident. “I have a daughter; I’m not going to bring her around that,” she said.
Since becoming estranged from her dad, Brittany said she had 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.
She also 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.
“I just couldn’t imagine he would hurt his children,” said Brittany, who lived with her father and Monica while growing up. “But I mean, with everything I know now, I have no idea. I have no idea what he would do.”
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