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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Mum’s plea: I just want my Jayden home

The mother of missing Newcastle man Jayden Penno-Tompsett has issued a fresh plea for answers on the eve of the third anniversary of her son’s baffling disappearance. 

Speaking on brand new true crime podcast The Missing Files this month, an emotional Rachel Penno spoke of her torment at the ongoing lack of answers surrounding her youngster’s case and has called for a coronial inquest into the matter. 

Jayden, 22, was on a road trip from Newcastle to Cairns on New Year’s Eve in 2017 when he reportedly ran into bushland at Charters Towers after an argument with a travelling partner – and was never seen again. 

In the most comprehensive public examination of the case yet, The Missing Files Podcast speaks with his family, some of Jayden’s closest mates and seasoned police officers in a bid to uncover new leads in the probe. 

It also features former Griffith Local Area Commander Detective Superintendent Michael Rowan, actor and video producer Adam Drummond, investigative journalist Dan Johns and TV and film editor Matt Olsen.

In episode one of the four-part series, released this month, Ms Penno spoke of the pain she had endured since her son’s disappearance and urged authorities to look more closely at a mysterious property near where Jayden disappeared on the outskirts of Charters Towers. 

“There’s a house there, a property, and it needs to be searched but nothing has been done,” she said. 

Ms Penno admitted she remained angry at Jayden’s travelling companion, too.

“Jayden wasn’t reported missing until January 4, 2018, four days after he and his friend parted ways,” she explained.

“There’s been so many different things said: the most recent one was that he is in a dungeon and then there’s others, like he was thrown off a cliff or that he was dismembered and acid was used.

“It’s so difficult to hear that and I just want my boy home.” 

She said Christmas and the upcoming anniversary of Jayden’s disappearance were particularly difficult times. 

Other theories examined by the podcast include speculation he was killed by a bikie gang over drug debt; committed suicide in a remote location; changed identities and fled to start a new life; or was the victim of a roaming serial killer on the notorious Flinders Highway, colloquially known as the “Highway Of Death”. 

The Missing Files Podcast producer and narrator Adam Drummond said the team was determined to shed new light on the fascinating cold case. 

“Jayden’s loved ones have been subjected to unimaginable pain for three years now and we hope by keeping this case in the public eye, we can spark a lead and a breakthrough in the case,” he added.