Fifty-one-year-old Australian Mark Tromp has apologized for a bizarre family road trip that left his wife and daughter in the hospital and his second daughter facing criminal charges of theft.
The Tromp Family attracted the media’s attention last week after the five members of the family fled their home just outside of Melbourne over fears that someone was after them, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Sergeant Mark Knight of Monbulk was puzzled over what happened. He knew the family and reported that none of the members were diagnosed of having mental problems, belonged to any churches or cults, nor owed any debt. He couldn’t understand why they would flee their home.
According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the “technology-free” family outing began over a week ago when Tromp, his wife and three adult children decided to take off from their home in the family car with a large amount of cash while leaving behind their credit cards, cell phones, passports and any other identification.
Heading towards New South Wales, Tromp’s son, 25-year-old Mitchell, snuck his cell phone along with him. When the Tromp parents discovered the device, the cell phone was then tossed out the window.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, when the family reached Bathurst in New South Wales, Mitchell Tromp decided he would head back home. Tromp, his wife Jacoba, and daughters Ella, 22, and Riana, 29, continued the road trip.
Tromp’s son, Mitchell, caught trains from Sydney then back to Melbourne. Mitchell claims there was some “build-up pressure” that caused his parents to become paranoid and assuming they were being followed.
Tromp’s daughters decided to leave their parents after reaching the Jenolan Caves later that day. The two sisters obtained a car and headed for Goulburn, New South Wales, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The daughters then reported their parents to be missing.
The sisters decided to split up in Goulburn and Riana was later found along a highway after allegedly stealing a vehicle. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Riana was then transported to Goulburn District Hospital after reportedly being found in a “catatonic state.” Ella managed to acquire a second vehicle and drove back to the family home.
The family vehicle was found abandoned Wednesday night in Wangaratta, Victoria, approximately 360 miles south of the caves where their daughters left them. A man who is believed to be Mark was seen running from the vehicle.
The next day, Tromp’s wife, Jacoba, was found by a passerby more than 150 miles from where she was last seen and was immediately taken to a local hospital for stress related health issues. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Jacoba was then transported to the same hospital as her daughter, Riana.
A search for Tromp continued in the Wangaratta, Victoria area, where there were multiple thefts, alleged to be committed by Mark. Tromp was found near the local airport Saturday night and was released into his brother’s care.
A relative of Tromp released a statement with Tromp apologizing for the event. “We will soon be reunited and together, I hope that we will begin to make sense of our ordeal and return to normal life,” Tromp stated. “I am conscious of the burden these events have placed upon our extended family, friends and the community resources devoted to our aid.”
Tromp continued his statement, “Without reservation, I apologize for the hurt and concern caused by these events. On behalf of our family, I express deep gratitude to the 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.”
Tromp’s daughters Ella and Riana were both charged for theft of vehicles, but for Riana, the charges were later dropped under Australia’s mental health act, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.