In late August of 2016, the Tromp family of Silvan, Australia, abandoned the family berry farm and successful earth-moving business and went off the grid, albeit briefly. The members of the family left their cell phones, passports, and credit cards behind with no explanation or warning that they were leaving town. The family - Mark and Jacoba and their adult children, Riana, Mitchell, and Ella - drove north.
Why did the Tromp family leave behind all their possessions? And why would they put on such a bizarre act with everyone they came across? Even after the family returned home after nearly a week, there were no answers. The media and amateur sleuths have speculated about possible reasons, but the speculation remains just that, and the family's temporary exodus remains an enigma.
On August 29, 2016, members of the Tromp family piled into the family car and drove away from their berry farm - and their successful business - without so much as a word to their friends and extended family.
The family, Mark and Jacoba Tromp, along with their adult children Mitchell, Ella, and Riana, left Silvan, east of Melbourne, and drove nearly a thousand miles across Australia. No one realized the family was missing, at first - but it wasn't long before the family of five splintered into individual groups, their erratic behavior finally drawing attention to the situation at hand.
When the police were alerted to the family's bizarre disappearance by Riana and Ella, the first thing they did was pay a visit to the Tromps' abandoned berry farm. Inside the house - the doors were unlocked - authorities discovered personal possessions left conspicuously out in the open.
Passports, cell phones, and credit cards - the kinds of items most people in the modern world would take with them on a road trip - were left sitting on a table. The abandoned items suggested the Tromps didn't want to be followed.
The one member of the family who realized something was off about his parents was their son Mitchell, who brought along his phone on this impromptu excursion. He realized the family was being delusional, and that his phone would be the one lifeline to civilization if things were to go south.
When his parents found out about the phone, they made Mitchell throw it out the car window to keep them from being electronically tracked. Once that was out of the equation, the family was truly cut off from civilization.
Five-hundred miles into the family's thousand-mile road trip, Mitchell Tromp had enough of his family's shenanigans and left them to their own devices. At 7 am in Bathurst, west of Sydney, he left the group and took a series of trains home.
After everyone returned home safe and sound, Mitchell expressed regret at leaving his family when he did. He told the press he should have helped his family as things spiraled out of control, but at the time his decision made sense:
I thought getting out was the best idea for me at the time. In hindsight, I should have tried to stay with them and try and help to bring them back around and talk to them more, but I got out of the car.