Newcastle mother Rachel Penno hasn't given up hope of finding her son Jayden Penno-Tompsett a month on from when he disappeared in Charters Towers.
Newcastle mother Rachel Penno hasn't given up hope of finding her son Jayden Penno-Tompsett a month on from when he disappeared in Charters Towers.

Mother of missing traveller desperately scouring outback

AS  THE mystery surrounding the disappearance of Jayden Penno-Tompsett deepens, his increasingly desperate mother has found a possible clue.

After hiring and firing a private investigator, she is scouring the countryside of Charters Towers on her own.

Rachel Penno has also employed psychics as she tries every avenue to find information about her son, missing for a month.

She found a pair of boxer shorts in the area Jayden was last seen but is not certain they are his.

Police first issued a media release on January 3 saying the 22-year-old from Newcastle, New South Wales was missing.

He was last seen in the early hours of December 31 last year near a roadhouse on Thompson St (Flinders Highway) in Charters Towers.

He has not been seen since.

Police have concerns for his welfare as he has had no ­contact with family or friends, which is out of character for him.

Jayden is about 175cm tall and has mousy brown hair. He was last seen wearing a black singlet, navy blue board shorts, and black and red thongs.

The first Ms Penno knew anything was amiss was when she received a message from a friend who had seen a post on Facebook about 4pm on ­Wednesday, January 4.

"That's when I rang (NSW) police and they put me through up there (Queensland) and they filled me in on what little they knew at the time," Ms Penno said.

"It was a bit of a shock.

"I hadn't heard from him since the Saturday evening (December 30) when I got a text message which was really a bit strange.

"He was going to ring me to let me know how he was travelling and I hadn't heard from him ... before he got to the border (Queensland).

"The next day I was trying his phone and I didn't realise about all the out-of-service areas and it kept going to message bank. I kept messaging, 'Are you OK mate? Did you get there?' because I was worried about him driving up."

"I got a message that night (Saturday) which said 'yeah', in reply, which I thought was a bit strange."

Ms Penno believes a Snapchat message was sent on Saturday with a blank screen with a reference to a "water tower".

She said the events leading to his disappearance were confusing and unclear.

He had been driving with his friend Lucas Tattersall from Newcastle to Cairns.

They had decided to travel via the quickest route which took them past Charters Towers. It's a route that Ms Penno has since followed.

What happened next is not clearly understood.

It's thought the two men ­argued about something - possibly money - and Mr Penno-Tompsett, who was driving, pulled over and left the vehicle.

It was the last time he was seen.

Although it was first reported Mr Penno-Tompsett was last seen at a roadhouse, Mr Tattersall has since reportedly told detectives it was a rural property on an unsealed road with a red steel fence.

The 22-year-old has not touched his bank accounts, was upset, according to friends, and without his mobile phone.

Police and his family fear the worst.

Ms Penno enlisted the help of a private investigator.

"He came up (Charters Towers) and talked to the locals," she said.

"He's been out tracking and covering areas that police haven't been."

She found the pair of boxer shorts at Flat Rock but can't be sure they're Jayden's.

She had searched the internet for a "unique area" in Charters Towers and searched the Flat Rock area when she came across the underwear.

Ms Penno has started a GoFundMe page to cover her costs. She has borrowed hundreds of dollars from family and friends already.

She is also offering an undisclosed amount of money in reward for information about her son.

Police have conducted numerous searches for Jayden and the last effort was on January 15.

Charters Towers police station officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Graham Lohmann said inquiries were continuing in both Queensland and New South Wales.

"Police are following up on information received but to date nothing has advanced the investigation," Sen-Sgt Lohmann said.

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