CCTV vision of missing man Jayden Penno-Tompsett, last seen at a roadhouse in
Charters Towers on the Flinders Highway on December 31.Source:Supplied
We can’t change what happened’: What led to disappearance of Jayden
IT started with an argument on a boys trip, and ended with a frantic search. How
could Jayden just disappear?
THE father of a young man who disappeared off a Queensland highway after a
mysterious fight isn’t worried about what sparked the vanishing — he just wants
Jayden Penno-Tompsett, 22, has not made contact with anyone since he was
last seen near a Charters Towers roadhouse on the Flinders Highway in the
early hours of December 31.
He and a friend got into an argument on the side of the road as they headed
north on a boys trip away. Mr Penno-Tompsett and the friend where the only
ones in the vehicle, with the others in their group travelling in a second
Queensland Police — who say they were “exploring all avenues” — have
launched a major air and land search for Jayden, but have found no sign of
the former demolition worker.
He hasn’t touched his bank accounts, only has the clothes he was wearing and
didn’t have his phone when he disappeared.
It isn’t known what Mr Penno-Tompsett and his friend were arguing about or
why the group left him behind.
They were travelling from Newcastle to Cairns to celebrate New Year’s Eve
and had been planning the trip for months.
Brendan Tompsett, Jayden’s father, told news.com.au he just wanted to know
his son was okay.
“What we really want is we need to know that he’s okay, as you can imagine
the worst thing is the not knowing. We don’t care what the issues were,
that’s really secondary at this point ... Just let us know he’s safe.”
He described his son as “a bit wild” who sometimes dealt with things alone
and in his own time. But this behaviour was out of the ordinary.
“To not be in touch with some of his mates and to not let anyone know ...
From what police have told me he hasn’t used his bank account so that is
fairly concerning. It’s got scary.”
Mr Tompsett discovered his son was missing on Wednesday morning after
Jayden’s close friend Jayson Hungerford called him. “He got in touch with
me. It happened on the 31st and said his mates had tried to file a police
report but they couldn’t because they weren’t family. they finally contacted
Jayson, who got in touch with me.”
There were a number of unanswered questions about what happened on New
Year’s Eve, but for now he just wanted to know Jayden was safe.
“Details are a bit sketchy. He had a blue with his mate and he got out [of
the car] and he walked off.”
The group then left, leaving Mr Penno-Tompsett behind hundreds of kilometres
from their final destination.
Mr Tompsett was reluctant to comment when asked about their action. “It’s
something we’ll have to deal with ... [why it happened] we are trying to
find out as well, but we can’t yet ... It’s not going to solve anything at
the moment. It is what it is ... We can’t change what happened.”
He hadn’t spoken to the young men who Jayden argued with. “Other people
have. It’s pointless me ringing him up and being another person in his face.
I’ll deal with that one later.”
He has a message for his son: “Whatever is going on we just need to know,
just a phone call to let us know you are all right. Being a missing person
is the worst thing ever for a parent ever. I’d rather know he is in hospital
I’d rather know anything at all except for nothing. It’s the not knowing is
the worst thing. Just let us know you’re okay.”
Jayson Hungerford, the friend who called Mr Tompsett with the news his son
was missing, was clinging to the hope he was hitchhiking and unaware of the
rising panic in his loved ones.
“He wouldn’t hesitate to hitchhike and all that so I’m hoping he’s just on a
very long trip home.”
He too was grappling with why he had disappeared.
“I think it was just the argument with his mate and because it was his mates
car I’m thinking he just didn’t want to get back in his car cause they were
fighting...But it is out of character for him.”
Mr Penno-Tompsett was “usually always on top of it, no matter the
situation”, he said.
Queensland Police conducted an air and land search in the Tower Hill area on
Thursday, but have since scaled it back to patrols after failing to locate
Mr Penno-Tompsett or any items of interest.
“Police are exploring all avenues however accept that it is a possibility
that Mr Penno-Tompsett, from Newcastle, is still travelling as part of his
original plans and may not be aware that he has been reported missing,” said
Charters Towers officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Dean Cavanagh.
Towers Hill property owners have been urged to check their properties for Mr
Penno-Tompsett, while motorists are encouraged to contact police if they
believe they may have seen him on New Year’s Eve
Mr Penno-Tompsett is described as caucasian in appearance, 175cm tall and
with mousy-brown hair.
He was last seen wearing a black singlet, navy blue board shorts, and black
and red thongs.
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Queensland
Police’s Policelink line on 131 444.
Jayden Penno-Tompsett last seen near mystery property
THE hunt for a missing NSW man has taken a strange twist, with police now saying
he was seen near a mystery property.
A FRIEND who left a missing Newcastle man alone on an isolated Queensland road
after a heated argument has told police they parted ways in a different
Jayden Peno-Tompsett, 22, has
not been seen since the early hours of December 31. He and the friend
were travelling to Cairns to celebrate New Year’s Eve with others, who were
in a separate car.
The friend originally said the location where he last saw Mr Peno-Tompsett
was a roadhouse on the Flinders Highway at Charters Towers — but he has now
provided a mysterious new location.
The man told detectives it was a rural property on an unsealed road with a
red steel fence. “On the property is the skull of a bull on a post near a
set of yards with silver coloured fencing,” Charters Towers Senior Sergeant
Graham Lohmann told news.com.au.
The unsealed road ran off a bitumen road and a house was visible several
hundred metres from the road.
Police have not been able to locate the property and have appealed to locals
to help find it.
Mr Lohmann said the friend first spoke to police when he was 600 kilometres
from Charters Towers. “Upon return to Charters Towers, the witness was able
to clarify the description of the location,” he added.
Mr Lohmann said the friend was co-operating with police and had spent
several days trying to pinpoint the location — but he has not been able to
say exactly where it was.
News.com.au understands the two men argued about something — possibly money
— and Mr Penno-Tompsett, who was driving, pulled over and left the vehicle.
His friend then drove off. He told police he returned later and Mr
Penno-Tompsett was gone.
The last person to see Jayden Penno-Tompsett breaks his silence
THE man at the centre of a highway vanishing in Queensland has spoken out about
what happened when his “mate” went missing.
AS the desperate search for Jayden Penno-Tompsett goes on, the last person to
see him has denied he is “some heartless prick that just left him there to die”.
Mr Penno-Tompsett hasn’t
been seen since he stormed off from his friend Lucas Tattersall after
an argument they had while travelling from Newcastle to Cairns for a New
The 22-year-old hasn’t touched his bank accounts, was upset according to
friends and without his mobile phone — and police and his family fear the
In a series of social media posts, Mr Tattersall lashed out at those
suggesting he should have done
more to help Mr Penno-Tompsett.
“I’m sorry to tell you but if someone wants to just up and leave and f***
off then that’s what they are gonna do. [You] don’t understand how hard I
tried to help Jayden when I with him and calm him down so we can sort this
He said he was heartbroken about what had happened.
“He is my mate and I’m hurt too please stop making out I’m just some
heartless prick that left him out there to die.”
It’s understood the argument was over money.
Police have been told Mr Penno-Tompsett, who was driving, pulled over and
left the vehicle after the argument during the early hours of December 31.
Mr Tattersall then drove off. He told police he returned later and Mr
Penno-Tompsett was gone.
He was not reported missing until January 3.
Mr Tattersall said as well as speaking to police he had spent “days” looking for
He denied his story had changed, and said he was doing everything he could to
help police discover the mystery property where he left him.
At first he was believed to have been last seen near a roadhouse on the Flinders
Highway at Charters Towers. He later gave more information, but the only things
he could remember about the location — somewhere in Charters Towers — was it was
a rural property on an unsealed road with a red steel fence. There was a skull
of a bull on a post near a set of yards with silver coloured fencing.
Asked why he drove off and continued on to Cairns as planned, he said he was
“owed money” there that he needed to fix his car. He said the vehicle was “on
the verge of breaking down”.
“I had to wait about 4/5 days until I could get it fixed. Otherwise if I didn’t
do what I did I’d be stuck in Charters Towers with no money or nothing myself.”
Many of Mr Penno-Tompsett’s friends and family are angry about the chain of
events and believe there are unanswered questions about what happened. In an
interview last week with news.com.au, Brendan Tompsett said he didn’t care
the argument was over — he just wanted his son back.
“It’s something we’ll have to deal with ... [why it happened] we are trying to
find out as well, but we can’t yet ... It’s not going to solve anything at the
moment. It is what it is ... We can’t change what happened.”
In a lengthy Facebook post Mr Tattersall said: “None of you understand my side
or the shit that was going on. Like I said [to] the police I’ve been speaking to
and the ones who need to know it all have got it. Yous [sic] can make up all the
assumptions about me that you want at the end of the day I know the truth. I
want him home too yous [sic] know.”
He did not say what the argument was over but claimed Mr Penno-Tompsett had told
him there was a warrant out for his arrest. This sparked an angry exchange with
his father, who denied any warrant existed.
“Well Jayden had told me and all his other mates that cops had been looking for
him so what’s what we were led to believe. Can only go off what I know,” Mr
Tattersall wrote late yesterday.
Police have confirmed there was no warrant for his arrest.
Mr Tattersall did not respond to news.com.au seeking further comment.
Charters Towers Senior Sergeant Graham Lohmann told news.com.au they were “more
than satisfied” at the assistance Mr Tattersall had given police.
“He’s been more than helpful, even up to today.”
But there was no good news on the search front today. A tip was received about a
property on Stockroute Rd where the mystery property was possibly located, but
they were unable to confirm it was the place they were looking for.
“We can’t be certain that was the place the missing person was dropped off,” Mr
Two helicopters scoured the area while officers doorknocked properties without
“any new information” being discovered.
Mr Lohmann said the search would continue in any area police had credible
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or
Queensland Police’s Policelink line on 131 444.
Mother of missing man Jayden Penno-Tompsett joins search party at Charters
JANUARY 18 2018
Rachel Penno's gut instinct tells her there is something more to the
disappearance of her only son.
"I just don't know what that is at this moment," she said.
"But my gut is telling me there is something else. Jayden just wouldn't go bush
"I've got to let the police piece this puzzle together."
Ms Penno did everything to get from Newcastle to Charters Towers, in North
Queensland, where Jayden Penno-Tompsett mysteriously vanished on New Year's Eve
on boy's trip to Cairns.
She hadn't slept, battled car troubles after hitting a kangaroo, and just 20
kilometres out of Charters Towers, ran out of fuel on the lonely Flinders
Highway in the dark of night.
When she finally got to Charters Towers, she met with detectives and went
looking for herself, sifting through the dry country and navigating the maze of
back roads that weaves through farmland, even getting lost herself. It isn't
hard to do.
On Wednesday, she was there again with police as they ramped up the search to
find Mr Penno-Tompsett, canvassing a massive area that spans 85 square
kilometres of rugged terrain near the Burdekin River, north of Stockroute Drive,
which is currently the 22-year-old's last known location.
Emergency services have vowed not to stop despite the "huge effort" they have on
Described by senior police as a "slow, arduous" process, the search area is full
of dry creeks and large vegetation that has prevented the use of helicopters.
Recent rain, including a massive dump on Monday of 86.1 millimetres, the
drought-stricken town's wettest day in five years, has hampered search efforts.
From one extreme to the next, there has also been searing heat.
But Townsville district police inspector Roger Whyte insisted the search effort
was "evidence-based" and vowed to leave "no stone unturned".
Some authorities still believe Mr Penno-Tompsett could be found alive with
various water sources in the area. Detectives have also not ruled out the
possibility the 22-year-old hitchhiked out of Charters Towers.
"We would not be searching here if we did not believe we could find Jayden,"
Inspector Whyte said on Wednesday.
For a mother in uncharted territory, hope is everything.
"I still have hope he's going to come back," Ms Penno said.
"I just want him to come back, I just want him to come back."
Police again appealed for anyone who had information about Mr Penno-Tompsett's
disappearance to come forward.
Mother's desperate search for son missing since New Year's Eve
The desperate mother of a man who vanished from a remote country road on New
Year’s Eve is preparing to return home once again, after her second attempt to
personally find him turned up nothing.
But Rachel Penno, whose 22-year-old son Jayden was last seen near the north
Queensland outback town of Charters Towers last month, has not given up hope.
Jayden Penno-Thompsett disappeared during the early hours of December 31 while
travelling with a friend, Lucas Tattersall, from their hometown of Newcastle to
Cairns for New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The pair stopped off for petrol and snacks at a service station on the Flinders
Highway before getting into an argument about 5.30am.
Mr Tattersall, who police say has been fully cooperative with their
investigation, told authorities the argument led to Jayden storming off into
darkness. He hasn’t been seen since.
Extensive land and air searches by police and the SES in the days following
found no trace of Jayden, whose mother says his disappearance is totally out of
Ms Penno has spent the week in Charters Towers, scouring bushland and talking to
residents living along the highway where her son was last seen.
It’s the second time she has made the 2300km journey from Newcastle to look for
Jayden, having joined search teams during their final sweeps of the area last
“I'd do anything to get him back. I'd do whatever it takes,” a distraught Ms
Penno told A Current Affair.
Jayden’s aunt, Karen Dobell, has also been assisting.
“There are several things that don't add up,” she said.
“I know Jayden would not be out there in the bush for three weeks because he
wouldn't have the skills to survive.”
Theories among locals at Charters Towers, south-west of Townsville, as to what
happened to Jayden have reportedly ranged from foul play to an attempt by him to
disappear and hide.
However, with no firm leads, his whereabouts and the reason he cannot be located
remains a genuine mystery to his family, and to authorities.
Senior Sergeant Graham Lohman, who is the officer in charge of Charters Towers
police, told A Current Affair that
Jayden’s disappearance had baffled everyone involved in the search.
“It's a very unusual matter that we are investigating and it's made worse by the
fact that Mr Tattersall can't remember the exact location where he dropped
Jayden off,” he said.
“There is no evidence to suggest that anything untoward has happened to
“We remain open to all possible scenarios and we are treating him still as a
Anyone with information which may assist is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on
1800 333 000.