A GOULBURN man received the surprise of his life on Tuesday when he discovered a woman, confirmed as Riana Tromp, in the back of his ute.
Police picked up Ms Tromp, 29, from Lake George on August 30 at 2pm. She is the daughter of Mark and Jacoba Tromp, whose family went missing from Silvan in Victoria on August 29.
UPDATE: Jacoba Tromp has since been found in Yass, and later transferred to Goulburn for care; while police have since found Mark Tromp on the outskirts of Wangaratta late Friday. Their other adult children, Mitchell and Ella, are also safe.
THE LAKE GEORGE DISCOVERY
Goulburn resident Keith Whittaker said the drama began when he pulled into the Caltex Service Station in Goulburn in his white Ford F 250 dual cab ute on Tuesday, around 11am.
“I filled up with petrol and drove off on my way to Canberra for a doctor’s appointment. I got to Lake George when I felt a kick to the back of my seat.
“I turned around and saw two legs stretched across the back between my seat and the floor. She was lying on the floor,” Mr Whittaker said.
“I got an extreme shock. I pulled over in a rest area.
“About 20 minutes later the young woman sat up and was staring straight ahead. I asked her who she was and if she was all right? She did not know her name and had no idea where she was.
“I asked her if she needed any water or anything or was in any way injured and she said no.
“Then I called the police. Until the police arrived, she mostly sat and stared straight ahead as if she was catatonic. They arrived about an hour later and took her back to Goulburn Police Station.
“She was a well-dressed young woman and she offered to give me $50 for my trouble, but I said no thanks. I was just glad to help her.”
Mr Whittaker said he had come forward to remind people to check unattended vehicles on returning to them.
Meantime, a police spokesperson confirmed the young woman was Riana Tromp and that Hume Local Area Command officers collected her from Mr Whittaker near Lake George at 2pm on Tuesday.
They said she and sister Ella, 22, had stolen a car from Jenolan Caves and driven it to Goulburn, before Riana alighted and entered Mr Whittaker’s ute. The other sister kept driving.
Police also confirmed on Friday the young woman had since undergone a mental health assessment and was now in the care of mental health services in Goulburn, along with her mother, who had been transferred from Yass Hospital.
On Friday, police said a driver in the Bega area had reported a sighting of a man matching Mark Tromp’s description, hitch-hiking with a one-man tent; a report discounted later that day.
A police circular shown to the Post on Friday also suggested the Tromp family of five had experienced shared delusional schizophrenia, although son Mitchell Tromp later told media outlets his family had had no mental health diagnosis or history.