The disappearance of a Riverina teenager is to be the focus of a new podcast being recorded by Wagga identities Adam Drummond and Daniel Johns.
The pair first dipped their toes into the world of podcasting with The Missing Files, which explored the disappearance of Jayden Penno-Tompsett and helped shed new light on the case in the lead-up to a coronial inquest.
Jayden, 22, was on a road trip from Newcastle to Cairns on New Year’s Eve 2017 when he reportedly ran into bushland at Charters Towers after an argument with a travelling partner and was never seen again.
The podcast comprehensively examined the case, talking to Jayden’s family, friends and seasoned police officers including former Griffith Local Area Commander, Detective Superintendent Michael Rowan, who helped with the podcast’s investigation.
“I think it helped clarify the story and the timeline of events,” Adam says.
“A lot of people who hadn’t been spoken to by police spoke to us. I think it helped bring people out of the woodwork and made them accountable for their stories.”
The podcast has been downloaded 30,000 times and has provided the impetus for a second series, currently in production.
“We are planning to start recording this month and then hopefully release the series in mid-2022,” Adam says.
Both Adam and Dan have deep roots in the Riverina and are keen to tell a story that has mystified many for years.
Adam was born in Albury, and spent his formative years in Cootamundra before moving to Wagga to complete his schooling at Trinity Senior High School. He also went to university in Wagga before taking acting courses and moving to Sydney to pursue a career.
After appearing in a number of commercials and small roles on TV, he returned to Wagga and worked as a real estate agent for 12 years.
“I sold up and did a couple of feature films in Wagga and that got my creative juices flowing again,” Adam recalls.
“I set up a video production company and started working in media.”
Daniel Johns took a different road. His career in the media began in Bowral but he went on to edit The Area News in Griffith for almost 10 years and Wagga’s Daily Advertiser for a further two.
A chance meeting of minds began their podcasting partnership.
“I’ve got a lot of creative projects on the slate but I’ve always had an interest in true crime,” Adam says.
“We were just having coffee and I said I was thinking of starting a podcast.
“Dan immediately volunteered to write it.
“The Age etc, has large budgets behind them so it was always going to be hard to match that but, when a podcast is done well, it’s time consuming but rewarding.
“We started our discussions in August 2020 and our first episode came out on 3 December that year. We did five episodes over 12 months and I reckon we spent 100 combined hours per episode.
“It was recorded in real time and we had a lot of time pressure getting it out before the inquest was held.
“This time we want to be 95 per cent ready to go so we can release the episodes on a fortnightly basis and people can binge it.”
Adam is reluctant to give too much away about the case that is the focus of the podcast, but it’s one that is guaranteed to enthral local listeners.
“We are in the process of tracking down friends and relatives,” Adam says.
“We will talk to local journalists and some of the police involved. We can piece it all together ourselves. We are just getting our ducks lined up.
“It’s a cold case that has fascinated a lot of people and we are looking forward to digging into it.”