Grisly twist in hunt for Theo Hayez: Forensic psychologist believes a Byron Bay serial killer could have murdered three missing European backpackers
- Tim Watson-Munro said a serial killer may be involved in disappearances
- Victims may include backpackers Theo Hayez, Erwan Ferrieux and Hugo Palmer
- Police have ruled out any possibility the two separate cases are linked
One of Australia’s leading forensic psychologists believes a serial killer may be involved in the disappearance of Theo Hayez and two other missing backpackers.
Tim Watson-Munro believes police shouldn’t rule out the possibility Theo, an 18-year-old Belgian backpacker, and 20-year-old tourists Erwan Ferrieux and Hugo Palmer were the victims of an undetected serial killer.
‘You cannot discount the fact that you have three young men of very similar profiles who have gone missing or are dead from two coastal towns which in the scheme of Australia’s geography are quite close,’ he told The Daily Telegraph.
Theo Hayez was last seen leaving the Cheeky Monkey’s bar in Byron Bay at about 11pm on May 31.
Theo Hayez was last seen leaving the Cheeky Monkey’s bar in Byron Bay at about 11pm on May 31
The bones of French backpacker (right) who has been missing since February have washed up on a beach in New South Wales
The young backpacker was on the last leg of his trip around Australia and was excited to return home before his mysterious disappearance.
Similarly, 20-year-old friends Erwan Ferrieux and Hugo Palmer were both reported missing during their Australian holiday of a lifetime.
The pair were last seen in Port Macquarie on the NSW north coast and their belongings were found in the sand on Shelly Beach a short time after they disappeared.
Police feared they drowned in the swell, which reached 1.6 metres on the day they went missing on February 18.
Last month two human bones washed up – with forensic testing this week revealing they likely belonged to Mr Ferrieux.
Tim Watson-Munro said he believes police shouldn’t rule out the possibility 18-year-old Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez, as well as French backpacker Erwan Ferrieux and his friend Hugo Palmer, both 20, were the victims of an undetected serial killer
Volunteers searched tirelessly for weeks on end to try and find Theo in Byron Bay
Mr Watson-Munro firmly believes their disappearances and presumed deaths could be linked.
‘I know the three disappearances could easily be misadventure, and I am not saying they are definitely the work of a serial killer, but I have learnt that nothing can or should ever be discounted,” he said.
He said statistically, the odds of three backpackers going missing in such a short time span in nearby regions was unlikely.
Mr Watson-Munro also argued that from his experience, serial killers generally opted to prey on vulnerable people who may not necessarily be identified as missing immediately.
‘I don’t want to to be over dramatic or start fear on the eastern seaboard but there is no doubt there are serial killers in our midst.’
Police said another bone washed up in the same area on Sunday and this will also be sent for forensic testing. Pictured: Hugo Palmer (right) and Erwan Ferrieux (left)
A third human bone was discovered at the same beach on Sunday, but forensic testing has not yet linked this to Mr Ferrieux’s case.
Despite Mr Watson-Munro’s experience analysing the minds of some of Australia’s most dangerous criminals, a spokesman for NSW Police dismissed his theory.
The spokesman said it was ‘factually inaccurate’ to suggest the disappearances were linked and was ‘reckless to the perception of safety in the community.
‘The investigations into each of the disappearances have been expertly managed; detectives have not identified any definitive links between the cases, nor any indication of foul play.’
Last month two human bones washed up – and forensic testing revealed they are most likely Mr Ferrieux’s (centre with friends Hugo Palmer and Caraa Blackburn)