Mark Tromp apologizes for bizarre Australian family road trip that hospitalized 2, left another facing charges

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

Australian Mark Tromp has apologized for a bizarre family road trip that left his wife and a daughter in hospital and a second daughter facing criminal charges.

The Tromp family captivated Australian media last week after the family of five fled their home just outside of Melbourne over fears that someone was after them, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

In a statement released through a relative, Tromp apologized for the “ordeal.”

“We will soon be reunited and together, I hope that we will begin to make sense of our ordeal and return to normal life,” The Sydney Morning Herald quoted the statement as saying. “I am conscious of the burden these events have placed upon our extended family, friends and the community resources devoted to our aid.

“Without reservation, I apologise for the hurt and concern caused by these events,” Tromp said in the statement.

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According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the peculiar family outing began over a week ago when Tromp, his wife and three adult children took off from their home in the family car with a large sum of cash while leaving behind their bank cards, mobile phones and passports.

Apparently heading towards New South Wales, Tromp’s son, Mitchell snuck his mobile phone along with him, which was then tossed out the window after his parents discovered the device, about 32 kilometres into the trip.

The next day, the family reached Bathurst in New South Wales, when Mitchell decided he wanted to head back home. Tromp, his wife Jacoba and daughters Ella and Riana continued the road trip, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Later that afternoon, the daughters decided to leave their parents after reaching Jenolan Caves. The two somehow acquired a car and headed for Goulburn, according to ABC. The daughters then reported their parents to be missing.

The sisters then split up in Goulburn; Riana was later found along a highway after allegedly stealing a vehicle. She was then hospitalized after reportedly being found in a “catatonic state,” according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Ella managed to acquire a second vehicle and drove back to the family home.

The family vehicle Tromp and his wife Jacoba were driving, was found abandoned 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.

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The next day, Jacoba was found by a passerby more than 240 km from where she was last seen and was taken to a local hospital for stress-related health issues. She was then transported to the same hospital as her daughter Riana, ABC reported.

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.

“On behalf of our family, I express deep gratitude to Victoria and New South Wales police, as well as the health care professionals who have looked after our physical and mental well-being,” Tromp said in the statement. “More than anything, my family and I need time to recover and receive appropriate assistance, including mental health services.

“To this end, we request that media organisations [sic] respect our request for privacy,” he said.

Ella was charged for allegedly stealing a vehicle to return the family home. Riana was also charged with theft of a vehicle, but the charges were later dropped under Australia’s mental health act, according to ABC.

with a file from Rebecca Joseph

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