Unsolved Jayden 'Penno' Tompsett vanished on the Highway of Death - NSW to Qld

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Kurve

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What really happened to Penno?

This case is taking centre stage in the crime space and getting more attention with the release of a new, really gutsy investigative podcast. (linked below) Nobody involved is holding back.

While the police claim Jayden 22yo, after an argument with his mate Lucas on the Highway of Death in Charters Towers Queensland, wandered off into the bush and died of dehydration, just about nobody else seems to be buying it. His body has never been found.

Jayden and Lucas were muling from Newcastle to Charters Towers and were then to travel on to Cairns for New Years Eve. The case has a complicated history with Lucas making a mess of it by clumsily trying to defend himself over social media and the usual meddlers making contact with the grieving family. Some are claiming Jayden was murdered by people he owed money to, ghastly stories of mutilation and dismemberment are spreading like wildfire among other suggestions he was picked up by a serial killer operating along the 'Highway of Death'.

There have however, been a few unusual disappearances and murders along that stretch of highway.

Penno's mum received some of his last text messages and claims they weren't written by her son but rather by the person who probably killed him. We've heard of killers hijacking their victim's phone before sending text messages to family to create the impression they're still alive.


Jayden Penno-Tompsett and his mate Lucas Tattersall planned to spend New Year’s Eve 2017 in Cairns.

The Newcastle pair had left home days before, making the long drive to far north Queensland.

On December 31 the pair arrived in the small town of Charters Towers, 130 kilometres inland of Townsville.

There, CCTV footage captured Jayden, 22, at a service station in the early hours of New Year’s Eve.

Not long after, Jayden and Lucas got into an argument. Jayden walked off into bushland, and Lucas drove away.

When he returned not long after, Jayden was still missing.

He was never seen again.

Lucas reported his friend missing three days later, and more than 20 police and 50 SES and RFS volunteers combed a huge 85 square-kilometre search area around Charters Towers, where Lucas said he had left the car.




The dark history of the 'Highway of Death'
The stretch of outback road in inland Queensland where Jayden was last seen has been coined the 'real life Wolf Creek' after a spate of disappearances.
Locals say even they wouldn't travel on the road alone - especially at night - because of the dark history.
  • In August of 1970, a seven-year-old girl and her five-year-old sister, Judith and Susan Mackay, were raped and murdered near part of the highway.
  • Two years later, Anita Cunningham, then 18, and Robin Hoinville-Bartram, then 19, went missing after attempting to hitchhike to Bowen, 250km east of Charters Towers.
Ms Hoinville-Bartram's remains were buried in a shallow grave at Sensible Creek, 80kms west of Charters Towers.
She was shot in the head twice a .22 calibre rifle. Ms Cunningham remains a missing person.
  • Catherine Graham's body was found at Antill Plains Creek, just off the highway, in 1975. She was just 18.
  • In 1982, 20-year-old Tony Jones mysteriously disappeared on the same stretch of road.
  • On September 23, 2009, Mick Isles, a local police officer, disappeared from Charters Towers. He has never been seen since.
  • Most recently, Reece Kearney, 26, went missing just days before Mr Penno-Tompsett. He was last seen filling up his motorcycle near the small town.
He smashed his phone and left his father's home with nothing but the clothes he was wearing in the moments before he disappeared.
Police believe they found articles of clothing belonging to him about two months later.
 

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Kurve

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Kurve

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Not much interest in this but while Jayden might seem a bit of a knockabout he isn't a bad kid, he just lost his way and got in over his head I think.


The Missing Files Podcast

At the Coronial Inquest today, Lucas gave his version of events and will stand again before the Coroner tomorrow.
It is reported that at today's session Lucas admitted to having a different version of events compared with his initial reports to police, however he maintains that aside from an argument he had nothing to do with Jayden's disappearance.
Despite testimony that Jayden was in serious drug debt, had threats made against him and his family and that his mental state was precarious prior to the trip, police have still remained of the opinion that Jayden had simply walked off into bush and perished.
No body, no evidence, nothing during an extensive air and land search have lead to Jayden's whereabouts.
Jayden's mother Rachel had not had enough time to read through a 170 + page running sheet by police and this forced the Coroner to adjourn further police testimony until Rachel had been through the details and conferred with her legal representative.
The inquest continues tomorrow.

Here's episode 4.

 

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GreyCrow

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If he walked off and died then his body should be on the surface - recognising that sometimes people can tuck themselves into root systems and bushes to keep warm and dry - that an air and land search was conducted says to me he is buried

I wouldnt connect this to the others based on the statement by Lucas - yes I do allege Lucas knows more than he is saying
 

LK Metro

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I've been listening to the poddie...bit frustrated with the length of time between ep 3 & 4, but still, it's been quite captivating for me.
As the inquest should have just concluded, when are the results or conclusions supposed to be made available to the public? Any clues?

Here are two media reports that I was able to find:

Day one - Jayden's Mum

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-05-04/qld-coronial-inquest-jayden-penno-tompsett-cairns/100115004


Day two - Lucas at the inquest:
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-05...nno-tompsett-inquest-missing-cairns/100116960
 

Kurve

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His Mum thinks there's far more to what happened.

 

craffles

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His Mum thinks there's far more to what happened.



I personally think she is still in a bit of denial. Based off the coroner's reports and friends as well he was taking drugs for 3 days straight and not sleeping and "lost his stash".

That's enough to send someone troppo off into the bush and having spent some time up that way in summer it is absolutely brutal during the day even if you are prepared, let alone 3-4 days into a bender.
 

Lockyer24

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The Zac Barnes case seems similar.
Scary reading all these missing people on the register website - makes you wonder what percentage are murder/suicide/misadventure
 

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