Heartbroken mother Carolyn Langhans struggled to hold back tears as she told reporters her “beautiful” boy had been ripped from their lives too soon.
“There is a big hole in our hearts,” she said.
“I’m devastated, my heart is broken.
“I’ve lost my son, he’s not coming back.”
Up to 100 guests attended the 16th birthday party held on Saturday, March 20, at a one-acre Tooradin property on Station Road.
It was Rachel Donaldson’s daughter’s 16th birthday.
Ms Donaldson tried helping the injured teen by putting a bandaid on his forehead.
“If I had my time I would have called an ambulance immediately and I didn’t,” she said.
Police said the three men had not been invited to the party, but attended the event with one of the male guests in the early hours of Sunday morning.
A “minor confrontation” occurred out the front of the home between the trio and another guest, who had asked them to leave about 2.30am.
Homicide Squad Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said Jason had stepped in as a “peacemaker” to calm down the escalating altercation before he was attacked.
“Jason saw this trouble brewing, stepped in as the peacemaker, and tried to de-escalate it … to take the heat out of the situation,” he said.
“At that moment, without any provocation, without any warning, what has been described as one of the unknown men has slapped Jason to the head twice.
“We now know that, that the male had a sharp instrument in his hand when he did that.
“The attack was very swift and very quick. We also know that one of the other males has come over the top at the time … and punched or slapped Jason to the head as well.”
The men then “took off into the darkness”, with about 15 partygoers chasing after them across paddocks and properties.
Multiple people were in the area at the time of the fatal assault.
Tooradin is a semi-rural township on the outskirts of Melbourne, located about 57kms south-east of the CBD.
Police believe another altercation then occurred on the grounds of one of these properties.
Detective Inspector Stamper said the group who chased away the men could assist police in finding the assault weapon involved, imploring anyone with information to come forward.
The State Emergency Service also assisted in the search, looking through paddocks for any sign of the screwdriver.
Authorities recovered a number of items of interest including broken bottles.
Locals have also been urged to keep their eyes peeled for an abandoned screwdriver and to contact police if they came across the tool.
“We are trying to find the weapon that was used to kill Jason,” Detective Inspector Stamper said.
“We believe it is potentially a screwdriver that may have been discarded anywhere between the property … and the area of Tooradin.”
The party was “pretty well supervised” with the names of guests being ticked off at the front gate.
No trouble had arisen until the gatecrashers arrived, Detective Inspector Stamper said.
The injured Cranbourne North teenager was given a bandaid for the cut on his head at the party, before being driven home.
Detective Inspector Stamper said Jason looked “bit dazed” after the attack, with his family calling an ambulance within five minutes of him returning home.
His condition quickly deteriorated and he was taken to The Alfred hospital with life-threatening injuries.
He died three weeks later after his family made the “horrendous decision” to turn off his life support.
“Sadly, that’s where his life ended at The Alfred, three weeks later,” Detective Inspector Stamper said.
“The wound to his head was of such significance, the bleeding in his brain was of such significance, despite the best efforts of the best people we had, his injuries were unsurvivable.
“We now have a family who are mourning an unimaginable grief.”
Detective Inspector Stamper said Jason’s father, Mr Langhans, had been “too distraught” to attend the press conference.
“Jason and his dad were best mates, they did everything together,” he said.
“He’s lost his best mate, lost his son.”
Mrs Langhans said she could not believe someone could attack Jason so viciously.
“I don’t know how a human being could do something like that to another human being,” she said.
Her last words to Jason were asking whether he would be home for dinner the night of the party.
“It’s still a dream, a nightmare. It’s not real to me at the moment.
“I never got a chance to say goodbye.”
Jason has been described as a “beautiful young man who had his whole life ahead of him”.
The 17-year-old enjoyed fishing and playing footy for Narre Warren Football Club.
He was looking forward to completing an apprenticeship and had recently bought a four-wheel drive.
“He planned to get his licence on his 18th birthday,” Mrs Langhans said.
“That’s all gone now, that’s been taken away from him.
“He is a loving, caring, gentle person. He wouldn’t hurt a soul.”
Police believe the three men of interest drove to the party and were from the other side of town in the city’s west.
They have been described as Middle Eastern in appearance and of driving age.
The first man had dark short-cropped hair and the second man had wavy black hair, which was brushed across his face.
The third man had a dark short crew cut. Police also believe he will have “fairly significant facial injuries” to the left side of his face.
They all wore dark-coloured clothing and were approximately 170cm tall.
Detective Inspector Stamper said police would leave no stoned unturned to provide the grieving family with answers.
“I can’t even imagine what the Langhans family must be going through, to find out that your son and much-loved brother, who just went out to a party, will no longer be coming home.”