Tej Chitnis (Missing Person)

Date:
April 27, 2016 (Wednesday)

Location:
Healesville, Victoria, Australia

Situation:
Missing

Tej Chitnis

Tej Chitnis

Nickname: Unknown
Alternative Name: Unknown

Disappearance

Missing from: Healesville, Victoria, Australia
Date Missing: April 27, 2016 (Wednesday)
Taken By: Unknown

Circumstances:

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.

Map of trip from Bonview Crescent to Deakin University
The Trip from Bonview Cresent to Deakin University

School

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. The trip was rather long, covering approximately 55 mi (90km) and requiring an drive of more than an hour.

Instead of driving the whole trip, Tej usually preferred to drop his car off at Blackburn Railway Station (around 10 minutes from home) and then traveling in to the campus area by train.

Map of trip from Bonview Crescent to Blackburn
The trip to the Railway Station was about 10 minutes

Work

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.


The Disappearance

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 a hours drive east of Melbourne instead.

Map from Bonview Crescent to Healesville

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.

Silver Golf Hatchback Volkswagen (2005)
Tej’s Car on CCTV at the Green Street Intersection of Maroonday Highway 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.

Jayant and Reva Chitnis at the MCG, holding coffee cups with an image of their missing son, Tej and his car.
His Parents with Coffee Cups Showing Tej’s Depiction

The Aftermath

The circumstances of Tej’s disappearance raised four key questions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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 it heavy traffic or had something disrupted his trip?
  4. Was Tej There at All? The evidence only proves that Tej’s car and phone were in Healesvills; 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 agreed that 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, failing to attend classes for more than two years. Tej graduated from Melbourne High School in 2012 and then did enter Deakin as a freshman. However in 2014, he ceased attending.

Tej had been discussing his future plans with family and friends, and had told them he intended to transfer to Monash University and study medicine. Instead, he was not going to graduate that year and the lies he had shared were in danger of coming out. His mother reports that Tej had expressed some concern over his future, but she assumed it was just general anxiety.

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

Key Descriptors

  • 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

  • Unknown

Wearing & Possessions

  • Black Adidas Sneakers
  • T-Shirt
  • Jeans
  • Possessions:
    • Phone
    • Wallet
    • Keys

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

Mural in Melbourne of Tej Chitnis and his missing Car
Mural in Melbourne of Tej Chitnis and his Missing Car

Resources

  • 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

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. codylwrites

    Great write up! Love the Google Maps pics for timeline/distance references. Very helpful!

    1. Your article was amazing! The detail you gave was much deeper than most of the newspaper sources 👍🏻 It’s such a tragic case! I was always obsessed with grades and valued myself in term of school accomplishments. So I can definitely understand how much pressure those years must have put him through. We still hope he’ll return to his family someday soon!

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