Australia'People always turn up in Byron': Backpacker Theo Hayez still missing
Belgian backpacker missing after failing to return to his Byron Bay hostel
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".
Video provided by Nine News
Byron Bay was the penultimate stop on Theo Hayez’s eight-month backpacking holiday around Australia.
The 18-year-old Belgian had thought carefully about his decision to travel before commencing his university studies in science and mathematics. He’d planned his gap year well in advance, organising each moment of his time ahead, booking transport and accommodation.
“He is . . . a conscientious, organised, responsible and attentive boy,” his mother Vinciane Delforge told a French broadcaster in Belgium last week.
Major search operation underway in Byron Bay for missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez
A land, sea and air search is underway around the Byron Bay area nine days after Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez went missing after a night out at a local bar.
Photos of the teenager, who is 180 centimetres tall, with a slim build and blond hair, show a broad smile and a young man happy to be on adventures. When he arrived in Byron last month, Theo was looking forward to heading home soon to start uni.
But within 24 hours Theo disappeared. Seventeen days on, there is still no sign of him despite a massive search involving police, SES, locals and volunteers.
On Saturday drones and dogs were out searching dense bushland in the Cape Byron / Tallow Beach area south of Byron, sources said.
“We would love to believe that he met a girl and had a fling . . . and that’s why there’s no sign of life,” Ms Delforge said. “But that just isn’t him, that’s not his style.”
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.
Theo had only been in Byron for a day or two, barely enough time to register amongst the myriad hippies, surfers, beachgoers, travellers, celebrities and longtime residents of the coastal enclave.
He was last heard from when he messaged a friend in Belgium just after midnight on Friday, May 31. He was last seen on CCTV about 15 minutes’ walk from his Byron hostel, close to midnight.
Dressed in a black hoodie, brown pants, black sneakers, a grey cap with a Puma logo and a black watch, Theo was walking back to the Wake Up! hostel on Childe Street after a night out at Cheeky Monkeys, a bar in the heart of Byron Bay. He never made it home.
On CCTV footage from an accommodation house on Shirley Street, at 11.17pm Theo is seen looking at his phone, before turning right toward his hostel. A couple of hours later his phone was pinged near Byron Beach and Tallow Beach near Tallow's Ridge.
'They're using all resources that they can': Search continues for missing backpacker Theo Hayez
Two weeks after his disappearance, the search for Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez continues in Byron Bay, with the arrival of his immediate family imminent. Rescue teams continue to search the Byron Bay headlands, east- and north-east of the town, as well as Belongil Beach. "They're trying to cover all of those central areas," a NSW police spokeswoman said. require(["inlineoutstreamAd", "c.
Six days later, NSW Police were notified that he had failed to return. The hostel found his belongings and passport still in his room, but no sign of Theo. His phone and his bank cards have not been used since.
On Friday Theo’s father arrived from Belgium and was briefed by NSW police on the situation. Theo’s godfather, who lives in Australia, posted to a social media group dedicated to finding the missing teen that his father would take a day or two to rest and recover before meeting the residents who had dedicated hours to the search.
“The time difference with Belgium and the nature of [Theo’s father’s] stay put him at risk of not only jetlag but emotional shock. So, we may slow down a bit before getting fully active again,” he wrote in a post that has since been edited.
Throughout the town of Byron, posters are stuck to poles and windows, sharing photos of a smiling young Theo and asking for any new information on his whereabouts.
Police expect to hold a press conference in the next few days, depending on the results of their ongoing search over the weekend.
Theo Hayez's father makes emotional press plea to find 18yo who is 'in grave danger'
The father of a missing Belgian backpacker has made an emotional plea for information as homicide detectives join the search effort in northern NSW. Theo Hayez's father, Laurent Hayez, broke down as he pleaded for public information about his son's disappearance, saying the 18-year-old was "in grave danger". "When I left Belgium I promised Theo's little brother, Lucas, I would bring his brother home, please help me keep my promise to him," he said.
SES and surf lifesaver groups, police dogs, drones and members of the community have been canvassing acres of swamp, beach, bushland and town streets in their search for Theo. His cousins who live in Brisbane and godfather joined the search last week, while a crowdfunding campaign was launched to help fund his immediate family’s flights to Byron Bay. It has raised nearly $60,000.
The Byron area is a challenge for any search, its popularity as a travellers’destination meaning thousands will pass through it streets each year, some for hours, some for days, and some to stay.
Throughout the spectacular headlands and beaches are acres of dense swampy bushland, with many streets backing onto soggy waterways and private property.
Marshy tea tree and long grass make it almost impossible to see through, while the wide beaches stretch for kilometres across the headlands.
Tweed/Byron Police, who are coordinating the investigation into Theo’s disappearance, said in a statement they were using “all resources available” including the dog squad and plain-clothed officers.
“Officers are continuing to canvass the main Byron Bay area and the surrounding bushland,” police said.
Missing backpacker Theo Hayez's WhatsApp messages could be key to police breakthrough
The father of missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez says unlocking his son's last Whatsapp messages could be key to find him alive. But a leading expert says the tech giant is incapable of unjumbling the "garbled" encrypted messages.
“Detectives are looking into all available information that is provided to us with respect to Theo’s disappearance, including reviewing available CCTV footage.”
Plain-clothes detectives and a sniffer dog were out searching through a section of bushland behind the missing backpacker’s hostel on Friday morning.
A railway line behind a row of hostels and cafes, separating the main road in and out of town from the beach with a stretch of damp swampy ground between them, was the focus of their search.
The railway runs close behind the hostels, with no fences or barriers.
In town though, life is going on as normal; under a sunny sky tanned and wild-haired backpackers wander the streets speaking a multitude of languages, searching for hostels and bars. Residents in shorts and t-shirts walk their dogs, swim and stop for coffee. Only those few posters suggest anything has happened, that anyone is missing.
Byron Bay business owner Christos Tsesmetzis was one of the first locals to begin organising a community search. He said when he first heard of Theo's mysterious disappearance, like other locals his response was "I just need to try".
"I'm torn apart and exhausted," he said, as much of the Byron residents who had searched frantically for days were feeling.
The searchers were striving to keep momentum, keep searching for Theo as the days stretched on.
Mr Tsesmetzis said he and others had worked with Theo's cousin Lisa Hayez and friend Michael Dorkhom, who have spent days in Byron searching, to track down CCTV from houses and hostels along Theo's possible route home.
There was still some CCTV footage he hoped to secure and pass over to the police, Mr Tsesmetzis said. If that footage was usable and did show Theo, it might help narrow down more of the short window of time between his last sighting and the last message sent from his phone.
Nicoletta Revis, a long-term Byron local, has also been part of the search and rallied locals to bring together food, supplies and accommodation for Theo’s family ahead of their arrival.
After 20 years living in Byron, Ms Revis said she had never seen something like this happen before.
While in previous years it wasn’t uncommon for people visiting the alternative lifestyle haven to disappear into the hills for an overnight party or two, she said this was something else.
“This is totally different, this is totally next-level different and I haven’t experienced this before,” she said.
“People always show up in Byron.”
Physical search for Theo Hayez suspended.
There is still no sign of missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez more than three weeks after he was last seen in Byron Bay.
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