Hunt for missing Belgian teen moves to a secluded Byron Bay beach – as friends fear ‘something stopped’ the 18-year-old from returning to his hostel
- The hunt for missing teenager in Byron Bay has shifted toward a secluded beach
- Theo Hayez was last seen leaving Cheeky Monkey’s bar about 11pm on May 31
- He appeared to be headed toward his accommodation at the Wake Up! hostel
- Friends are worried ‘something stopped’ the young traveller on his way back
The hunt for a Belgian teenager missing in Byron Bay has shifted toward a secluded beach on the outskirts of town.
Friends are worried ‘something stopped’ 18-year-old Theo Hayez after he was last seen leaving the Cheeky Monkey’s bar about 11pm on Friday, May 31.
The young traveller appeared to be headed toward his accommodation at the Wake Up! hostel north of town where his passport and belongings were later found untouched.
Friend Michael Dorkhom says Theo has been identified in more CCTV footage from Byron Bay’s main street in the minutes after he left the bar.
Belgian teenager Theo Hayez was last seen leaving the Cheeky Monkey’s bar about 11pm on Friday, May 31
Police previously released footage showing Mr Hayez walking from the Cheeky Monkey’s nightclub wearing a black hooded jumper, beige pants and black shoes.
Mr Hayez’s final known activity is believed to be when he sent a message to another friend in Belgium after midnight.
‘It seems like he was still happy where he was at that time, so he might’ve met someone on the way to the backpackers or decided to go and lay on the beach for a bit, we don’t know,’ Mr Dorkhom wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.
‘Something must’ve stopped him on the way to the backpackers since he would’ve reached (it) around 11.30pm on the Friday if he just had kept walking.’
Mr Hayez hasn’t used his mobile phone or made any financial transactions since the evening he disappeared, prompting ‘grave concerns’ for his welfare, a NSW Police spokeswoman told AAP on Tuesday.
Mobile phone records helped investigators narrow the search area east of the Byron Bay CBD, and in and around bushland to the northeast, earlier this week.
But on Tuesday the search shifted to Belongil Beach, which is across the road from the backpackers’ accommodation.
The search for Mr Hayez involves NSW Police, the SES, the Westpac Life Saver Helicopter, Surf Life Saving and Marine Rescue volunteers
A GoFundMe page launched on Monday collected more than $12,000 in 12 hours to help fund search efforts.
‘A few days before his disappearance Theo told us he could not wait to come back to Belgium,’ the fundraiser page states.
‘I travelled with Theo from Alice Springs to Darwin, I hope with all my heart that you will find him,’ one donor wrote.
Mr Hayez planned to spend eight months in Australia with Byron Bay the final leg of his journey, according to the fundraiser page.
He was supposed to travel to Melbourne before returning home to Belgium this week.
The search involves NSW Police, the SES, the Westpac Life Saver Helicopter, Surf Life Saving and Marine Rescue volunteers.
On Monday, NSW police released footage showing Mr Hayez walking from the nightclub on the night he disappeared wearing a black hooded jumper, beige pants and black shoes.
‘A few days before his disappearance Theo told us he could not wait to come back to Belgium,’a GoFundMe page says
Mr Hayez (left, on night he disappeared, and right, with cousin) left his passport and belongings at his hostel