Theo Hayez was last seen leaving the Cheeky Monkey’s Bar at Byron Bay on the New South Wales mid-north coast on May 31 last year
Investigators are secretly combing over an area of bushland they believe could solve the disappearance of missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez.
The 18-year-old was last seen leaving the Cheeky Monkey’s Bar at Byron Bay on the New South Wales mid-north coast on May 31 last year.
Detectives have conducted searches around the Cape Byron Lighthouse in a final attempt to track down the backpacker’s belongings, according to The Australian.
The efforts were centred around trying to find Mr Hayez’s mobile phone where its signal was last traced on June 1.
Detectives are meanwhile asking the family of Mr Hayez to keep quiet about the results of DNA testing on a hat found in bushland off Tallows Beach.
The cap – discovered by a member of the public – matched the one Mr Hayez was wearing on the night he disappeared.
Detectives have been secretly conducting new searches around the Cape Byron Lighthouse (pictured) in a final attempt to track down the belongings of missing Belgian Backpacker Theo Hayez
Theo Hayez (pictured with his girlfriend) went missing on May 31 after leaving Cheeky Monkey’s bar in Byron Bay in northern NSW
Police suspect Mr Hayez might have fallen while trying to climb the cliffs near Tallows Beach.
His family say they have not given up hope of finding the missing backpacker a year after his disappearance.
They posted a heartfelt message in the Looking For Theo Facebook group, thanking those who had helped to search for the backpacker – as well as giving an insight into the latest police efforts in 2020.
‘Since the beginning of the year, we have spoken less publicly about developments,’ the post reads.
‘Far from us giving up hope or dedication, the main reason is because the ongoing police process means we need to be careful about what we say.
‘We think about Theo every minute and would like to share any information that may help find out what happened to him – but we have to be careful that we also give the police the best chance of finding this out.
‘It breaks our hearts every day and we hope that they will soon have some clarity for us. The police investigation is ongoing and we are grateful for this but we have been asked not to provide details.
‘New searches have taken place and police have provided us with the results from the DNA testing conducted on the two hairs found in the cap.’
The hat was found by a member of the public in the same area where the last ‘ping’ from Theo’s phone was recorded on June 1 around the Cape Byron Lighthouse.
A grey Puma hat was found in bushland at Tallows Beach, with Theo’s family believing the cap belonged to the missing backpacker
A search party trawls through the Tyagarah Nature Reserve looking for Theo in June 2019
Data from Theo’s phone has traced this route as his last known movements before he vanished on the night of May 31 2019
Theo’s family is certain the hat is his.
The family has urged anyone with information on the backpacker’s disappearance to contact them and police.
They have maintained Theo was not alone on the night he disappeared and believe anyone with new information should come forward.
Theo’s family have not given up hope on finding him and have launched a new website to broaden their voice to more international audience
A new website has been launched to help the family extend their voice and reach a more broad international audience to find any leads to track down Theo.
‘It will soon be one year (since his disappearance) and it is still important that you keep talking about Theo,’ the post continues.
‘We still believe that someone out there could help us to find out what really happened by providing us with some information about that night.’
Parents Laurent Hayez and Vinciane Delforge believe he was not alone on the night of his disappearance
Theo was travelling in Australia on a gap year after finishing school in Belgium.
Police began a land, sea and air search when they were alerted to his disappearance by staff at the Wake Up! Hostel in Byron Bay on June 6.
The hostel staff raised the alarm after finding his belongings, including his passport, left there untouched.
Theo’s father, Laurent Hayez, flew into Australia that month and made an emotional public appeal to help find his son.
‘I promised Theo’s little brother that I would bring his brother home. Please, help me keep my promise to him,’ he told reporters through tears at Tweed Heads Police Station.
Theo’s disappearance made headlines around the world and several volunteer groups formed to search for him.
The case has been referred to the New South Wales Coroner.