Missing man’s mum still hunting for clues
THE mother of a man who mysteriously vanished near Charters Towers has returned to the country town doggedly knocking on doors in a hunt for answers.
Jayden Penno-Tompsett, 22, of Newcastle, was last seen on Stockroute Rd, off the Flinders Highway, on December 31, 2017.
A year on, his mother Rachel Penno has driven more than 2000km back to where her son disappeared, speaking to dozens of people and chasing leads.
Ms Penno is quietly confident she has come across new information that will aid police in their ongoing investigation.
"I don't believe he just got lost in the bush," Ms Penno said.
"I think there's a lot more involved."
Mr Penno-Tompsett had been travelling from his hometown to Cairns on New Year's Eve with a bunch of mates.
But he never made it to the party he was meant to attend.
Mr Penno-Tompsett purportedly pulled over to the side of the road and stormed off after a row with his friend Lucas Tattersall.
When Mr Tattersall returned hours later, his mate was nowhere to be found. A missing person report was filed three days later.
A major search and rescue operation involving helicopters, drones, SES members, specialist police officers and general duties police lasted days but found no trace of him.
Ms Penno said she had been in the Charters Towers area since December 27, following threads of information that have taken her to Ravenswood and Ayr.
"We've been to dozens and dozens of properties, and the properties over there are some distances apart and some of them we had to hike up epically long driveways," she said.
"(We've been following up) their involvement in Jay's disappearance, rumours that they've heard or been told, it's a matter of trying to work out if it's true or just rumours."
Ms Penno said she had managed to stack up information through other sources that someone had previously retracted.
"I just can't believe we covered as much ground as we did," she said.
"Bar one person, everyone else we've managed to catch (up with) them and we've just kept going back and going back until we got them."
The last text message Mr Penno-Tompsett sent his mother, at 7.52pm on December 30, 2017, was out of character.
It simply said, "Yeah".
Video surveillance footage placed Mr Penno-Tompsett at a roadhouse on the Flinders Highway hours before he disappeared.
Townsville Police Inspector Roger Whyte, who was in charge of the Country Patrol Group at the time of Mr Penno-Tompsett's disappearance, said police were still following up on several lines of inquiry.
"A number of actions are being taken (and police are) waiting for results," he said.
"Hopefully we will be in the position pretty soon to make further comment."
The disappearance of Mr Penno-Tompsett is still being treated as a missing person case.
Ms Penno, who has been heavily involved in the case since the beginning, revealed she had been looking down cliffs during this latest trip "just in case".
"(It's come) to the point where I don't get out of bed some days," she said. "I just don't want to continue but I have to, I have to find him."