The Illinois family of four who had been missing for two months in what police called “grave danger” has been found safe in Arizona.
The Cochise County, which is east of Tucson and borders Mexico, was confirmed to be the location of Stephen (44), Monica (34), Aiden (11) and Nicholas Lutz (9) by the Newton Police Department. According to investigators, license plate readers assisted local and state police in locating the family.
A family member who hadn’t seen the family in a few days and was worried something was wrong filed a missing persons report for the family on February 10. Stephen Lutz was detained in January on suspicion of domestic battery after one of his young sons allegedly overheard him telling himself that he needed to kill his family.
The family was captured on camera leaving in their blue 2005 Ford F150 towing a U-Haul in the middle of the night. Their last electronic ping was in Richmond, Indiana, after which their digital presence vanished.
Without Stephen Lutz present, officers made contact with Monica Lutz and the boys. The deputy who made contact with the group noted that the boys appeared healthy and that Monica Lutz had provided information about Stephen Lutz’s location.
Newton Police Chief Riley Britton spoke with Stephen Lutz directly, who said the family has relocated and has “no plans of returning to Newton.”
“We are relieved to have made contact with the family and are thankful that they are safe,” Chief Britton said in the press release.
Another Stephen Lutz child, Brittany Lutz, claimed in an interview with WCIA that she texted her half-brother, Aiden, a few days before they vanished. She claimed he informed her of the family’s vacation but did not specify where.
According to what she said in the interview, “I did text my father Stephen on February 14 and said if they needed to get away, I could take the boys and just get them back to a normal life.” He claimed that they lead normal lives apart from one another and that he is not permitted to be in their presence.