Last person to see man lost in outback explains why he left
AS the desperate search for Jayden Penno-Tompsett goes on, the last person to see him has denied he is "some heartless prick that just left him there to die".
Mr Penno-Tompsett hasn't been seen since he stormed off from his friend Lucas Tattersall after an argument they had while travelling from Newcastle to Cairns for a New Year's party.
The 22-year-old hasn't touched his bank accounts, was upset according to friends and without his mobile phone - and police and his family fear the worst.
In a series of social media posts, Mr Tattersall lashed out at those suggesting he should have done more to help Mr Penno-Tompsett.
"I'm sorry to tell you but if someone wants to just up and leave and f*** off then that's what they are gonna do. [You] don't understand how hard I tried to help Jayden when I with him and calm him down so we can sort this out."
He said he was heartbroken about what had happened.
"He is my mate and I'm hurt too please stop making out I'm just some heartless prick that left him out there to die."
Police have been told Mr Penno-Tompsett, who was driving, pulled over and left the vehicle after the argument during the early hours of December 31. Mr Tattersall then drove off. He told police he returned later and Mr Penno-Tompsett was gone.
He was not reported missing until January 3.
Mr Tattersall said as well as speaking to police he had spent "days" looking for his mate.
He denied his story had changed, and said he was doing everything he could to help police discover the mystery property where he left him.
At first he was believed to have been last seen near a roadhouse on the Flinders Highway at Charters Towers. He later gave more information, but the only things he could remember about the location - somewhere in Charters Towers - was it was a rural property on an unsealed road with a red steel fence. There was a skull of a bull on a post near a set of yards with silver coloured fencing.
Asked why he drove off and continued on to Cairns as planned, he said he was "owed money" there that he needed to fix his car. He said the vehicle was "on the verge of breaking down".
"I had to wait about 4/5 days until I could get it fixed. Otherwise if I didn't do what I did I'd be stuck in Charters Towers with no money or nothing myself."
Many of Mr Penno-Tompsett's friends and family are angry about the chain of events and believe there are unanswered questions about what happened. In an interview last week with news.com.au, Brendan Tompsett said he didn't care about what the argument was over - he just wanted his son back.
"It's something we'll have to deal with ... [why it happened] we are trying to find out as well, but we can't yet ... It's not going to solve anything at the moment. It is what it is ... We can't change what happened."
In a lengthy Facebook post Mr Tattersall said: "None of you understand my side or the shit that was going on. Like I said [to] the police I've been speaking to and the ones who need to know it all have got it. Yous [sic] can make up all the assumptions about me that you want at the end of the day I know the truth. I want him home too yous [sic] know."
He did not say what the argument was over but claimed Mr Penno-Tompsett had told him there was a warrant out for his arrest. This sparked an angry exchange with his father, who denied any warrant existed.
"Well Jayden had told me and all his other mates that cops had been looking for him so what's what we were led to believe. Can only go off what I know," Mr Tattersall wrote late yesterday.
He did not respond to news.com.au seeking further comment.
Charters Towers Senior Sergeant Graham Lohmann told news.com.au they were "more than satisfied" at the assistance Mr Tattersall had given police.
"He's been more than helpful, even up to today."
But there was no good news on the search front today. A tip was received about a property on Stockroute Rd where the mystery property was possibly located, but they were unable to confirm it was the place they were looking for.
"We can't be certain that was the place the missing person was dropped off," Mr Lohmann said.
Two helicopters scoured the area while officers doorknocked properties without "any new information" being discovered.
Mr Lohmann said the search would continue in any area police had credible information about.
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Queensland Police's Policelink line on 131 444.