Missing Illinois Family Found Safe in Arizona

An Illinois family of four not seen since February has been found in Arizona, and they told police officers they were happy where they were and doing well.

“I’m not coming back,” Stephen Lutz told the Cochise County deputy who spoke with him where he works. “Ain’t nothing there for me.”

Lutz, 44, his wife Monica, 34, and their children, 11-year-old Aiden and 9-year-old Nicholas, packed what they wanted into a U-Haul attached to back of their Ford F-150 on February 10 and drove away, as CrimeOnline previously reported. Lutz texted his daughter, Brittany Lutz, on February 14, but there was no further contact.

Brittany Lutz convinced Newton, Illinois, police to accept a missing persons report on April 3.

The Cochise County deputy who found them, on April 17, recorded his interactions with the family on his body-worn camera, first speaking with Monica Lutz at what appeared to be a pop-up camper where the family has been living. The deputy also spoke with Aiden and Nicholas, who told him they were being homeschooled and doing well in video posted by Law & Crime.

“We were ready for something new,” Monica Lutz tells the deputy.

She told the deputy where her husband was working, and he went there to speak with Stephen Lutz, who provided a little more information — but not many details — about the family’s abrupt departure from Illinois.

“I got into some things I shouldn’t have back home,” he said. “I needed to get away from that.”

He also said he was “tired of all of the crap” and accused his daughter Brittany of “trying to cause a bunch of trouble for us.”

Brittany Lutz told police that her father had been abusive to Monica Lutz and that Aiden had seen his father talking to a clown mask on the wall and saying he knew he needed to kill his family.

The deputy didn’t ask Lutz or his wife about that, but Stephen Lutz did speak with Newton Police Chief Riley Britton on the deputy’s phone.

“I’m sorry I scared you,” he told the chief. “Just don’t tell them where I’m at. Nobody else needs to know where I’m at. It ain’t nobody’s business.”

“Can’t treat somebody like that and expect ’em to stay,” he said.

All four of the Lutzes insisted they were fine and happy in Arizona. They just didn’t want family in Illinois to contact them.

Lutz was charged with a misdemeanor domestic battery charge in January and released on bond. Law & Crime said that a warrant was issued for his arrest but that misdemeanors are typically low priority for extradition.

Brittany Lutz tells Inside Edition she is still worried.

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[Featured image: Stephen Lutz, left, and Monica and Nicholas Lutz/Cochise County Sheriff’s Office via Law & Crime]