New item in search for missing backpacker

 

The family of Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez, who vanished in Byron Bay last year, have released a new "item of interest" in their desperate search.

The 18-year-old went missing in June last year while backpacking in Byron Bay, after a night out at Cheeky Monkey's Restaurant & Bar.

Now, his family have posted to their Facebook page, Looking For Theo Hayez, with a plea to its 16,000 followers over a watch he might've been wearing when he was last seen.

"We recently found out that the black watch that Theo was wearing wasn't the one we thought, but a new one rather similar. The display (digital only, no hands) and the straps are different," the post reads, above an image of the watch.

The family of missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez has identified a watch the teen might have been wearing when he disappeared. Picture: Facebook Source: Supplied
The family of missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez has identified a watch the teen might have been wearing when he disappeared. Picture: Facebook Source: Supplied

The page indicated that the watch - later identified as a Rip Curl Drifter Digital Black A2982 - was purchased during Theo's time in Australia, as a similar watch he'd worn in Belgium was found in his backpack with a broken strap.

The family has also established a website, Looking4Theo, in a plea for any public information.

 

The 18-year-old was last seen at about 11pm on Friday, May 31 2019 at Cheeky Monkey Restaurant & Bar in Byron Bay. Picture: Facebook Source: Supplied
The 18-year-old was last seen at about 11pm on Friday, May 31 2019 at Cheeky Monkey Restaurant & Bar in Byron Bay. Picture: Facebook Source: Supplied

Mr Hayez's phone sent a final "ping" in the Cape Byron area, north of Tallow Beach, at 1.42pm on June 1, 2019.

Both the beach, and the Arakwal National Park, have been scoured extensively by search teams over the past 12 months - with police launching an investigation after finding skeletal remains in bushland near the beach in July.

Detective Chief Inspector Brendan Cullen said at the time, however, he believed it was "highly unlikely" the remains could be Mr Hayez and submitted a report to the Coroner with those findings.

CCTV footage of Mr Hayez on the night he disappeared. Source: Supplied
CCTV footage of Mr Hayez on the night he disappeared. Source: Supplied

 

Mr Hayez’s final phone records show the route he took from Cheeky Monkey’s. Source: News Regional Media
Mr Hayez’s final phone records show the route he took from Cheeky Monkey’s. Source: News Regional Media

Other information gathered by Mr Hayez's family from his Google phone data suggested the teen was last walking around at Cosy Corner at the northern end of Tallow Beach.

According to The Australian, the data showed that on the night he disappeared Mr Hayez also walked from Byron Bay to Tallow Beach through a dense and unlit bush track, the Milne Track, before walking along the beach.

He was last seen leaving the Cheeky Monkey's Restaurant & Bar on Jonson Street after having a drink, at about 11pm on May 31.

That, and CCTV footage of Mr Hayez buying alcohol from a bottle shop, are the only two confirmed sightings of the teen, who was preparing to return home after eight months travelling around Australia.


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