Rangeway mystery: Jarod Phillips now awake and talking, but has no memory of incident

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Liam BeattyGeraldton Guardian
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Geraldton police have appealed for anyone with information on the circumstance which led to a man in his 20's being found unconscious in Geraldton.
Camera IconGeraldton police have appealed for anyone with information on the circumstance which led to a man in his 20's being found unconscious in Geraldton. Credit: Supplied

The 22-year-old man at the centre of a Geraldton mystery is now “awake and talking” in Perth, but has lost all memory of the incident which saw him end up in a ditch and then in hospital in an induced coma.

But his family believes his missing bike could hold the key to solving the puzzling case.

Jarod Leigh Phillips, of Spalding, was found about 7am on Tuesday by an early-morning dog walker, lying in a ditch with head and leg injuries, near the intersection of Cypress Street and Eastward Road in Rangeway.

Jarod Leigh Phillips, the man found unconscious on a Rangeway street.
Camera IconJarod Leigh Phillips, the man found unconscious on a Rangeway street. Credit: WA Police/Supplied

Acting Insp. Bruce McDonald said police were keeping an open mind in the investigation and had not yet ruled out whether this was a “medical episode”, a “traffic-type accident” or a “criminal-type incident”.

“Mr Phillips is awake and fine in Perth and it would appear he has no serious injuries,” he said. “Unfortunately he doesn’t have any recollection of the incident.”

He will make a full recovery, (it) just will take time. We still have no idea, but the bike is the key.

A police spokesperson later said it was believed there was “no element of criminality” in the case.

However, the 20-year-old maroon-coloured mountain bike Mr Phillips was last seen riding wasn’t found at the scene, with his family raising concerns it had been stolen.

The family of 22-year-old Jarod Phillips are asking for public assistance locating the unique bike he was riding.
Camera IconThe family of 22-year-old Jarod Phillips are asking for public assistance locating the unique bike he was riding. Credit: Supplied

His father, Scott Phillips, yesterday said the family had no idea what had transpired on Monday night but believed finding the bike was “key” to the investigation.

“The induced coma basically has affected any memory,” he said. “He will make a full recovery, (it) just will take time.

“We still have no idea, but the bike is the key.”

Mr Phillips was rushed to Geraldton Hospital by paramedics, who noted he appeared to be suffering from a seizure as police locked down the street and began working to uncover the circumstances that led to his condition.

Later the same evening he was placed in an induced coma and rushed to Royal Perth Hospital by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Acting Insp. McDonald said the investigation into the circumstances before Mr Phillips’ discovery was ongoing, with a number of “investigative actions to complete”.

Mr Phillips was discharged from RPH late on Wednesday night, according to a hospital spokeswoman, having recovered from a critical condition in intensive care earlier that afternoon.

Jarod Phillips was airlifted to Perth for treatment.
Camera IconJarod Phillips was airlifted to Perth for treatment. Credit: Liam Beatty/Geraldton Guardian, Liam Beatty

Police are working to determine how long he had been lying in the location before he was found, noting there was a “12-hour period” when no one had seen or heard from Mr Phillips.

He was last seen riding his bike on Flores Road in Webberton around 6.20pm on Monday night, where it’s believed he was travelling to the local shops in Wonthella.

Scott Phillips said his son’s mother was taking care of him in Perth and he was being observed for “head trauma”.

The unconscious man was discovered at the intersection of Cypress Street and Eastward Road.
Camera IconThe unconscious man was discovered at the intersection of Cypress Street and Eastward Road. Credit: Liam Beatty/Geraldton Guardian, Liam Beatty

It’s unclear when Mr Phillips will return to Geraldton.

Acting Insp. McDonald said police had plenty of leads they were working on to uncover “exactly what has happened”.

“We’d like to seek assistance from the public to try and find out what’s happened to Mr Phillips,” he said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or make a report via crimestopperswa.com.au.

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