Mark Tromp speaks: 'I hope that we will begin to make sense of our ordeal'

By Andrew Koubaridis of news.com.au

Mark Tromp has broken his silence. Photo / Supplied
Mark Tromp has broken his silence. Photo / Supplied

Mark Tromp has broken his silence to say he hopes his family can "make sense" of their "ordeal" and looks forward to his family members being back together soon.

Tromp's comments are the first public statement he has made since he was found in Wangaratta on Saturday, after being missing for five days.

The 51-year-old and his wife Jacoba, 53, were the focus of a major search in NSW and Victoria after they went on a bizarre road trip with their three adult children, Mitch, Riana and Ella.

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The children became separated from their parents when their behaviour began to spiral out of control, and the drama has transfixed Australia since.

In his statement today Tromp thanked "police and health care professionals who have looked after our physical and mental wellbeing".

When he was last seen in public he gave the fingers to waiting media - a gesture some in the community took offence to after police resources had been spent trying to find his family.

Today, he said: "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."

He didn't directly comment on what triggered the apparent delusions he and his family had suffered - or why they fled their home fearful of their lives - other than to say the family had been through "a difficult period".

"We will soon be reunited and together, I hope that we will begin to make sense of our ordeal and return to a normal life."

Ella and Mitchell Tromp at a press conference on a property in Silvan after their missing father Mark was found near Wangaratta. Photo / David Crosling / News Corp Australia
Ella and Mitchell Tromp at a press conference on a property in Silvan after their missing father Mark was found near Wangaratta. Photo / David Crosling / News Corp Australia

It was revealed yesterday Ella Tromp has been charged with stealing the car thats she and sister Riana used after they fled their parents. The charges against Riana were dropped though under section 33 of the Mental Health Act of NSW.

Riana and Jacoba Tromp are both still under the care of mental health experts in Goulburn, NSW.

Riana was found by a Goulburn man inside his ute in a near "catatonic" state late last week. She had separated from Ella, who then drove the allegedly stolen car south to their home state of Victoria.

"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," Keith Whittaker said of Ms Tromp.

"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."

Ella and Mitch told media on Sunday the ordeal their family had been through was "hard to explain", but gave few clues away as to what really happened.

Both said they were "still confused" about the trip.

"I had to go with the family because I wanted to see where they were going," Mitch said.

"I couldn't leave them. But, yeah, it was tough to see your family like that and I've never seen anyone like it."

Asked what triggered the trip, Ella said: "It is very confusing, I still feel confused ... I think our state of minds wasn't in the best place and ... there's no one reason for it. It's bizarre."

The siblings were reluctant to expand further on details saying "police are still investigating".

In an earlier public appeal for assistance when Mark was still missing, the kids expressed how much they loved their missing dad.

"He's not dangerous, he's my mate, my father. I love him," Mitchell told reporters.

Pressure had apparently been building on the usually happy family in the days before they fled their Silvan home - a lush and sprawling berry farm where visitors are welcomed to pick redcurrant berries and explore the idyllic livestock-studded surrounds.

Mitch said his father had become "paranoid" after a "build-up of different, normal everyday events" leading him and Jacoba to unravel and take the rest of the family with them.

"I've never seen anything like it," Mitch said.

"It's really hard to explain or put a word on it but they were just fearing for their lives and then they decided to flee".

Mitch said the "pressure", as he described it, "slowly got worse as the days went by".

He's tried to explain his father's disappearance saying he "thinks people are after him. He's not in a good state of mind".

- news.com.au

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