Podcasters Adam Drummond, Dan Johns and Matt Olsen behind Missing Files explain all

Dan Johns utilises his skills as an investigative journalist to help shed light on the disappearance of Jayden Penno-Tompsett. Picture: The Missing Files Podcast
Dan Johns utilises his skills as an investigative journalist to help shed light on the disappearance of Jayden Penno-Tompsett. Picture: The Missing Files Podcast

Combining their expertise to cast light on a mysterious cold case, a group of Wagga podcast creators are determined to discover the answers.

Actor and video producer Adam Drummond, investigative journalist Dan Johns and TV and film editor Matt Olsen are all based in the NSW Riverina city of Wagga. And they all are determined to find out what happened missing people across the nation.

For Mr Drummond, this is not his first time creating a podcast. But, he added, the two could not be more different.

"We did have a comedy podcast about six years ago called the Five O'Clock Wave," Mr Drummond.

"But I have always had an interest in crime and whodunnits. I grew up reading Agatha Christie, and I loved being a sleuth and trying to figure out who did it, and I think that fascination has continued into adulthood."

Mr Drummond added the vast appetite for true crime among podcast listeners could be attributed to people's interest in something entirely different than their own lives.

BRING HIM HOME: December 31 marks the third anniversary of the disappearance of
Jayden Penno-Tompsett. Picture: Help Find Jayden Penno-Tompsett Facebook page

BRING HIM HOME: December 31 marks the third anniversary of the disappearance of Jayden Penno-Tompsett. Picture: Help Find Jayden Penno-Tompsett Facebook page

"You can't get anything more contrasting than a crime taking place, being kidnapped or a murder," he said.

"People feel as long as it's not in their own lives ... they can listen to a podcast and feel safe but still exploring the dark side that's nothing like their own life."

Dan Johns, a former editor of The Daily Advertiser, brings more than 20 years of journalism experience to the table. The idea to work together on a podcast was sparked over breakfast.

"Adam had an idea already in the back of his mind, and we decided to work together," Mr Johns said.

He added they want to be able to bring the loved one of missing people some closure.

The pair, alongside Matt Olsen, are working with former Griffith Local Area Commander, Detective Superintendent Michael Rowan, to ensure that the podcast does not interfere with any potential investigations.

This is one way the team are looking to make sure their podcast does not cross any boundaries.

"We are also constantly in contact with the family and friends to keep them updated," Mr Drummond said.

"If you genuinely have the goal to uncover something new to help the family get closure, then your heart is in the right place, and that's how we are approaching it."

The first case in The Missing Files is Jayden Penno-Tompsett who was on a road trip from Newcastle to Cairns on New Year's Eve in 2017 when he reportedly ran into bushland at Charters Towers after an argument with a travelling partner and was never seen again.

The Missing Files Podcast speaks with Jayden's family, some of his closest mates and seasoned police officers in a bid to uncover new leads in the probe.

In episode one of the four-part series, released this month, Ms Penno spoke of the pain she had endured since her son's disappearance and urged authorities to look more closely at a mysterious property near where Jayden disappeared on the outskirts of Charters Towers.

"There's a house there, a property, and it needs to be searched but nothing has been done," Ms Penno said.

The mother said she remained angry at Jayden's travelling companion Lucas Tattersall for not reporting him missing earlier.

Jayden wasn't reported missing until January 4, 2018, four days after he and Mr Tattersall parted ways.

"There's been so many different things said: the most recent one was that he is in a dungeon and then there's others, like he was thrown off a cliff or that he was dismembered and acid was used," she said.

"It's so difficult to hear that and I just want my boy home."

She said Christmas and the upcoming anniversary of Jayden's disappearance were particularly difficult times.

Speaking on podcast, best friend Jayson Hungerford said he feared Jayden may have stumbled onto a nearby property and, in a heightened state of emotion, been killed during an altercation with a property owner.

Other theories examined by the podcast include speculation Jayden was killed by a bikie gang over drug debt; committed suicide in a remote location; changed identities and fled to start a new life; or was the victim of a roaming serial killer on the notorious Flinders Highway, colloquially known as the "Highway Of Death".

The Missing Files Podcast producer and narrator Adam Drummond said the team was determined to shed new light on the fascinating cold case.

"Jayden's loved ones have been subjected to unimaginable pain for three years now and we hope by keeping this case in the public eye, we can spark a lead and a breakthrough in the case," Mr Drummond said.

To listen, or for more information click here.

This story The podcasters trying to deliver closure for families of the missing first appeared on The Daily Advertiser.