Jayden Penno-Tompsett disappearance: police believe key to mystery may be in Newcastle

MYSTERY: A CCTV camera captures Jayden Penno-Tompsett in a Flinders Highway roadhouse on New Year's Eve, moments before the Newcastle man's disappearance. Picture: Queensland Police Service
MYSTERY: A CCTV camera captures Jayden Penno-Tompsett in a Flinders Highway roadhouse on New Year's Eve, moments before the Newcastle man's disappearance. Picture: Queensland Police Service

THERE was the early-morning visit to a Flinders Highway roadhouse. There was the blue between two mates that sent tempers flaring. Then came the erratic driving around a far North Queensland town before Newcastle’s Jayden Penno-Tompsett, in a singlet and thongs, got out of the car and was never seen or heard of again.

That is the puzzle Charters Towers police are trying to piece together.

It is a mystery that dozens of emergency services workers have tried to solve by sifting through a massive search area of dry and dusty land on the outskirts of the town but to no avail.

Six weeks since Mr Penno-Tompsett went missing and police increasingly believe the answer to this baffling mystery might be in the Hunter.

There is concern that someone, somewhere, is not speaking up.

Rachel Penno, mother of missing Newcastle man Jayden Penno-Tompsett, joined the search in Charters Towers.

Rachel Penno, mother of missing Newcastle man Jayden Penno-Tompsett, joined the search in Charters Towers.

Charters Towers officer-in-charge Graham Lohmann told the Newcastle Herald there had been “no new relevant information” to come to light in the Townsville area despite the significant search.

“Our concern is for Jayden’s well-being, given the length of time,” he said on Monday.

“It has been over six weeks now and still no word. It is becoming quite alarming and we believe our lines of inquiry will progress if someone comes forward with information in the Newcastle area.”

Rachel Penno said she had searched Charters Towers and Townsville for clues but returned home last week still no closer to finding her son.

Ms Penno said waking up each day not knowing what happened to her only child felt “earth-shattering”, before adding: “It is like a bombshell going off every time I wake up.”

“I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, I just want my son back,” she said. “If anyone knows anything, I just want them to tell me.

“We need to know.”

The Herald previously reported police suspended the physical search for Mr Penno-Tompsett on January 24 after all possible search locations had been “exhausted”.

Jayden Penno Tompsett was last seen on New Year's Eve.

Jayden Penno Tompsett was last seen on New Year's Eve.

Emergency service workers canvassed an 85-kilometre area on the north-west outskirts of the town, near Stockroute Drive, the location where police were told the 22-year-old may have left the car.

Police say they remain open to all possible options in the 22-year-old’s disappearance.

Ms Penno said she had door-knocked homeless shelters, distributed flyers in backpacker hostels and tourist hotspots in Townsville, as well as searching abandoned properties in Charters Towers.

“It’s been endless … but I won’t stop till I hear word from him,” she said.

Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000

brodie.owen@fairfaxmedia.com.au