Tromp family’s mystery road trip leaves Australians baffled

Mark and Jacoba Tromp were first reported missing after taking a "technology-free" road trip with their children on Aug 29, 2016. HO from New South Wales Police Force

Members of the Tromp family have all been accounted for after a bizarre road trip left two people in hospital and the rest scattered across Australia.

The journey started Monday when spouses Mark and Jacoba Tromp, along with their three adult children left their home in Melbourne and headed north without their mobile phones, credit cards and passports. One of their children brought a cell phone but threw it out the vehicle window when his parents discovered it.

The children, 22-year-old Ella, 25-year-old Mitchell and 29-year-old Riana, left their parents the next day, when they realized something was wrong, the Daily Mail reports.

Mitchell left the car near Bathurst, NSW, about 850 km north-east of Melborne; he then used public transportation to get back to Melbourne.

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The family then continued on to the Jenolan Caves, about 150 km west of Sydney, where Riana and Ella took a car and headed south for Goulburn.

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That’s when the children reported their parents missing, according to, before being separated.

Riana was found “under mental stress” at near Goulburn, and then transported to hospital. Elle reportedly acquired a car, and drove home to Melbourne.

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The car Mark and Jacoba were driving was found on Wednesday night in Wangaratta, another 580 km south of the caves where their daughters left them. A man, believed to be Mark, was seen running from the car.

The next day, 53-year-old Jacoba was found in a “catatonic state” by a passerby more than 240 km from where she was last seen, according to She was then transported to the same hospital as her daughter Riana.

A search for 51-year-old Mark continued in the Wangaratta area, where there were multiple break-and-enters and thefts, believed to be committed by Mark.

He was found near the local airport Saturday night, and was released into his brother’s care.

Reason for leaving still unclear

The reason for the impromptu technology-free road trip is still unclear.

Mitchell told reporters Sunday morning that he was happy that his father was found alive, but said the reason for the trip was a “family matter,” according to the Australian Associated Press.

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There was some speculation of a shared paranoia; Mark and Jacoba may have thought someone was out to get them, though police said the family was never in danger.

Ella told reporters Sunday morning that she was confused during the trip.

When asked about when she left, Ella said, “I was still confused by the whole situation, but I needed to get home to feed my horses.”

Another theory is that the family thought someone was trying to steal their money, reports the Sydney Morning Herald

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The family all works on a successful berry farm just outside of Melbourne, and have no debts, the newspaper reports.

Police told The Daily Telegraph that they found financial documents in piles throughout the Tromp home when they searched the house.

“The piles were very ordered and they were clearly looking for something,” an officer told the Telegraph.

Monbulk Police Sergeant Mark Knight said the house was also unlocked and the keys were in the car ignitions.

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“This is just a massive meltdown, I’m sure of it,” Knight said to the Canberra Times. “Something triggered them.”

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