April 27, 2016 (Wednesday)
Healesville, Victoria, Australia
Alternative Name: Unknown
Missing from: Healesville, Victoria, Australia
Date Missing: April 27, 2016 (Wednesday)
Taken By: Unknown
On April 27, 2016, a cheerful young Tej Chitnis simply vanished into thin air from the roads of Australia. According to his parents, Tej was a reliable young man, friendly and industrious – his disappearance came as a complete shock. The Chitnis family lived on Bonview Cresent, a small neighborhood in Burwood East, a suburb of Melbourne.
According to his family, Tej was enrolled in classes at Deakin University and commuted back and forth weekly. Although the Deakin main campus is much further away, Tej was attending the nearby Burwood campus.
Instead of driving the whole trip, Tej usually preferred to drop his car off on a side street at Blackburn Railway Station and then travel into the campus area by train.
Tej also worked part of the time as staff at an Office Works branch in Melbourne.
Overall, Tej had a seemingly dependable schedule and was usually home before 4:00pm (16:00) each day regardless of whether he was at school or work.
On April 27, 2016, Tej left his home around 10:00am to meet up with some friends in central Melbourne.
He planned to return by 4:00pm as usual, in time for his father’s 60th birthday party that evening. He had asked his parents to wait for him before leaving; he would change clothes and then they could all travel to the party together.
Tej was driving his Silver Golf Hatchback Volkswagen (2005) when he left the house and had with him his car keys, phone, and wallet. The car had Victoria license plates with the ID# TTF 517.
It is here that the situation becomes confusing. Approximately an hour and a half later, Tej’s car was spotted in Healesville, a town about an hour drive east of Melbourne instead.
CCTV recorded Tej’s car at around 11:30am on Maroondah Highway near the Green Street intersection. The highway is the most direct route from Bonview Crescent to Healesville where the car was spotted. Tej’s cell phone also was recorded for the last time around 11:50am by a tower in Healesville.
No one raised the alarm until after Tej failed to return that evening in time for the party. Neither Tej nor his car have been seen since, and his bank accounts have been left untouched.
The circumstances of Tej’s disappearance raised four key questions:
- Why? Tej had not announced any plans to drive up to Healseville and (as far as his family and friends were concerned) had connections to the area.
- Was Healesville the final destination? The car was seen at 11:30 and the phone pinged around 20 minutes later. This suggests that Tej spent some time in the area, but was Healesville truly where he vanished?
- Why so long? The trip from Bonview Crescent to where the car was caught on CCTV should take approximately an hour. Why did the trip take the extra half an hour — was there heavy traffic or had something disrupted his trip?
- Was Tej There at All? The evidence only proves that Tej’s car and phone were in Healesville; the video did not show whether Tej was driving the car.
In the aftermath of his disappearance, even more questionable facts came to light.
1) Tej has a close-knit group of friends; friends who were very close to both Tej and his family and still maintain contact. None have come forward to say they had plans to meet Tej that day. In this case:
- One of the friends is lying
- Tej lied about meeting some friends
- Tej was meeting someone the family was not familiar with (unusual for him).
2) Tej had been lying about his studies at Deakin University, having failed to attend classes for more than two years. Tej graduated from Melbourne High School in 2012 and did enter Deakin as a freshman. However, in 2014, he ceased attending.
Tej had been discussing his future plans with family and friends and told them he intended to transfer to Monash University and study medicine. Instead, they later learned that he was not even in school anymore. With Tej supposed to graduate that year, it was clear that he was in danger of some of his lies becoming apparent.
His mother reports that Tej had expressed some concern over his future, but she assumed it was just general anxiety. There was nothing to suggest things were this serious or that he was in so much trouble academically or privately.
What remains unclear is where Tej was when he was meant to be at classes. His employment at Office Works would only account for some of his time. There is no evidence to suggest he was caught up in drugs or other illegal activities. With this new information, it becomes uncertain whether Healesville was truly as unusual a route for Tej as it initially seemed.
“It is most unlike you my darling to just walk away without a word and not think what it will do to us. We love you very much and are very worried about you.”~ Message from Tej’s Mother on Mother’s Day 2016
- Date of Birth: November 22, 1994
- Age at Disappearance: 22
- Ethnicity: Asian (Indian)
- Nationality: Australian
- Gender at Birth: Male
- Hair: Black
- Eye Color: Brown
- Height: 5’7″ (170cm)
- Weight: Medium Build
Distinguishing Marks or Factors
Clothing & Possessions
- Black Adidas Sneakers
If You or Anyone You Know Has Information About The Disappearance or Tej’s Life Before He Vanished, Please Contact the Forest Hill Police Station at +61 (03) 8847-3600 or Crime Stoppers at +61 (1800) 333 – 000
- Cody L Writes (2020) “What happened to Tej Chitnis”, 16 April. Available from: Link
- Divissi, L. (2016) “Family of missing man Tej Chitnis need your help to find him’, Catalyst, 5 May. Available from: Link
- Doe Network (2017) ‘5082DMVIC – Tej Chitnis’, International Center for Unidentified and Missing Persons, 3 March. Available from: Link
- GarlicBreadLoaf (2018) ‘The unresolved disappearance of 21-year-old man Tej Chitnis – he told his family that he was going to class at his university one day and never returned back home.’, Reddit. Available from: Link
- Margan, M. (2016) ‘Mystery surrounds the disappearance of a student, 21, who vanished a month ago but had been pretending to go to classes for TWO YEARS’, Daily Mail, 16 May. Available from: Link
- Missing Persons (2016) ‘Tej Chitnis’. Available from: Link
- Singh, M. (2019) ‘Three years on, Tej Chitnis remains missing without a trace’, SBS Language, 26 April. Available from: Link
- Webb, C. (2019) ‘Where is Tej? A devastated father hopes solution lies in a coffee cup’, Age, 2 August. Available from: Link
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