When Victorian Police arrived at the Tromp family‘s home in Silvan, Victoria, on August 30, 2016, they found the doors unlocked. A station wagon was missing, but other cars had been left behind. The keys still in the ignitions.
Passports, mobile phones and bank cards belonging to the family of five were discovered inside, along with piles and piles of financial and business documents. They were neat and ordered, almost as if someone had been searching for something, police told The Daily Telegraph.
By then, the Tromps — Mark, 51, his wife Jacoba, 53, and their three adult children, Riana, 29, Mitchell, 25, and Ella, 22 — were already hundreds of kilometres into a journey that would spark one of the most bizarre missing persons cases in recent Australian history.
All five Tromps were ultimately located over the course of the next several days in various locations across NSW and Victoria. All were safe, but not all well.
The details of the case remain murky, pieced together from information provided by police and cryptic press conferences later given by Mitchell and Ella in an effort to satisfy the baffled press and public.
It was confirmed, via Riana’s 2017 interview with Woman’s Day, that a build up of stresses had led to her father suffering a mental breakdown. One so intense that he feared someone was after him and prompted him to flee.