National Missing Persons Week is an annual event which takes place during the first week of August. With 2018 marking it’s 30th anniversary, it’s aim is to raise awareness of the significant issues with missing persons as well as helping to reduce the incidence and impact of missing persons in Australia.
In Australia, it is reported more than 38,000 go missing each year. While most people are either eventually found or make themselves known as safe, there still remains approximately 1,600 long term missing persons.
An individual is considered a long term missing person if they have been missing for more than three months.
While missing persons cases are investigated by State and Territory Police, it is not uncommon for Private Investigators to be independently hired by families and loved ones of the missing to continue the search once Police run out of resources and/or avenues of enquiries. In some instances, loved ones may also choose not to involve Police and either conduct their own investigation or work exclusively with a private agency, such as Online Investigations Pty Ltd.
Whereby most people are found within a short period of time, there remain approximately 1,600 long term missing persons; those who have been missing for more than three months. Missing persons’ cases are investigated by State and Territory police.
One of these individuals identified as a long term missing person is Tej Chitnis. Tej has been missing since the 27th April 2016 and his family have been tireless in their actions of bringing crucial awareness to his disappearance and seeking answers in relation to his return.
Name: Tej Chitnis
Date of Birth: 1994
Missing since: Wednesday 27th April 2016
Circumstances related to his disappearance:
On the day in question, Tej – then 21 years of age – left his Burwood East address at approximately 10am in the morning, driving his silver 2005 VW Golf Hatchback. Family members assumed Tej would drive his vehicle to Blackburn Railway Station, park his car on a nearby street, and catch public transport to Deakin University, as they believed he often did.
However, it would later emerge that Tej had not, in fact, attended university in over a year before his disappearance, despite what he had been telling his parents.
On the day of his disappearance, Tej and his family had plans to get together the same evening for the celebration of Tej’s father’s 60th birthday, and Tej had reportedly told his parents ‘not to leave without him’.
90 minutes following his departure from his Burwood East home, Tej’s vehicle was spotted on CCTV footage in Healesville, Victoria, approximately 50 kilometres from Tej’s home. 15 minutes after this sighting, the last recorded usage of Tej’s mobile phone was recorded, also in the Healesville area.
Since that time, there has been no sighting of Tej, nor any record of Tej’s movements. His mobile phone and credit cards have not been used, and, despite Tej’s vehicle registration being flagged, there has also not been any sighting of Tej’s car since the final sighting in Healesville.
As of 7th August 2018, his vehicle has never been located. This would indicate it has been well hidden – possibly underwater.
Silver VW Golf – registration TTF 517
Facebook page set up by family – Help Find Tej Chitnis
If you have any information that can assist police in locating Tej, please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
In the months and days leading up to his disappearance, open source searches identified Tej had been active on his Facebook account.
On 7th February 2016, Tej tagged an associate on a meme depicting a picture of a boy faking he was sick in order to try and get out of work.
On the 2nd April 2016, Tej had tagged his friend on a picture related to an upcoming Zhu concert on the 11th June.
On 17th April 2016 he made a joke to his friend about still finding Elaine off Seinfeld attractive after his friend tagged him in a meme about her.
Around the time of his disappearance, renowned basketball player Kobe Bryant had just retired and many videos and images liked by Tej was in relation to this announcement. The majority of posts liked and commented by Tej in April 2016 were sports related, or to do with the popular cartoon TV show The Simpsons.
It would appear his last open source post was made on 26 April 2018 at 8:08pm in response to his friend tagging him in a basketball related post.
There were no posts uploaded or attributed to Tej Chitnis to indicate any premediated plans on the day he went missing or his state of mind at the time.