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AustraliaBelgian backpacker missing after failing to return to his Byron Bay hostel

10:55  08 june  2019
10:55  08 june  2019 Source:   smh.com.au

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Belgian backpacker missing after failing to return to his Byron Bay hostel© Supplied Theo Hayez and his cousin Lisa Hayez, in Sydney for New Year's Eve 2018.

Serious concerns are held for the whereabouts of a Belgian backpacker who has been missing for more than a week, after he failed to return to his hostel in Byron Bay.

Theo Hayez, 18, was reported missing on Thursday by staff at the Byron Bay WakeUp! Backpacker hostel, when they noticed he had not checked out of his room.

Mr Hayez's cousin Lisa Hayez arrived in Byron Bay on Saturday morning in the wake of his disappearance and said her family was "really worried," waiting for "any news".

"His mum texted me on Thursday morning telling me that she was really worried because he wasn't answering, and the hostel called the police on Thursday, as he was supposed to check out three days before that."

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Police have now made a public appeal for information about the missing 18-year-old, citing "serious concerns for his welfare".

Mr Hayez was last seen at Byron Bay's Cheeky Monkey bar on Friday May 31 around 11pm. At the time he was wearing a black hooded jumper, beige pants and black shoes.

Belgian backpacker missing after failing to return to his Byron Bay hostel© Facebook An image of Mr Hayez released by police.

He is described as being of Caucasian appearance, approximately 180cm to 190cm tall, with a thin build and blond hair.

It is understood he was last active on WhatsApp early on June 1, but he has failed to make contact with anyone since and he phone is now switched off.

Tweed Byron Police District Acting Inspector Troy Hamilton said he could not comment on whether there were particular factors that gave police particular concerns, pointing only to "the nature" of Mr Hayez disappearance and "various things with reference to how quickly he [ceased] contact".

Search continues for Belgian backpacker last seen leaving Byron Bay bar

Search continues for Belgian backpacker last seen leaving Byron Bay bar Theo Hayez' passport and phone were found in his hostel after the alarm was raised when he failed to check out last week.

Belgian backpacker missing after failing to return to his Byron Bay hostel© Facebook Anyone with information about Theo Hayez is urged to contact police.

An on-the-ground search for Mr Hayez has been organised by friends and family for 9am on Saturday morning, calling on volunteers to meet at the Cheeky Monkey Bar.

"We want to cover as much ground as possible around the bar and in the surrounding area, especially low frequented areas," reads a Facebook notice about the search.

Ms Hayez said she last saw her cousin when they spent two months together in Melbourne earlier this year, describing their relationship as "very close".

Belgian backpacker missing after failing to return to his Byron Bay hostel© Supplied Mr Hayez checked into a hostel in Byron Bay on May 29.

She said she and her brother would be joined by around 15 backpackers for the community search on Saturday morning, when they would set out on foot to search bushland near the beach, as suggested by local police.

Acting Inspector Troy Hamilton said police had been in touch with the backpacker's family, both in Brussels and in Byron Bay, while their investigations were ongoing.

'We know he wouldn't put himself in danger'

'We know he wouldn't put himself in danger' Backpacker Theo Hayez should have been flying home to Belgium today, but instead his family continue to desperately search for him in the coastal NSW town of Byron Bay. The 18-year-old vanished after leaving popular night spot Cheeky Monkey’s late on Friday, May 31. Police are baffled as to what happened to Theo but are keeping an open mind as the search for him enters its 13th day. © Supplied Missing Belgian teenager Theo Hayez vanished more than a week ago - and should be now be back in his home country.

He said police were gathering all CCTV footage concerning Mr Hayez around Byron Bay from the past week.

"Our priority at the moment is getting the information out and gathering any information from the public. Further to that we obviously have things in place in trying to locate him, but we have not been able to make contact and his phone is switched off."

Belgian backpacker missing after failing to return to his Byron Bay hostel© Facebook Theo Hayez, 18.

Acting Inspector Hamilton confirmed that while CCTV footage last recorded Mr Hayez on May 31, the last time he was physically sighted was May 29, when he checked into his hostel.

"Obviously in Byron Bay there are a lot of tourists on holiday. We quite often get missing person reports that aren't dissimilar to this, but obviously our focus is the fact that we have serious concerns for his welfare given we haven't been able to make contact and nobody has."

Mr Hayez has been backpacking around Australia since November last year and was due to fly home to Belgium next Wednesday, after a short stay in Melbourne.

He was planning on commencing his university studies in science and mathematics later this year.

"He's a really happy person, [who loved] travelling but he was really excited to go home see all his family and friends and start University in September," Ms Hayez said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact police.

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