Wild conspiracy theories, claims of ransom demands, mystery men and a violent past. Ten puzzling questions about Jay Slater the British teenager who’s vanished into thin air on Tenerife

Jay Slater is a 19-year-old apprentice bricklayer who went missing last Monday while attending a dance festival on the holiday island of Tenerife.

His disappearance has sparked a huge police investigation, now entering its eighth day, and has placed his friends and family at the centre of a hysterical social media circus, with a small army of trolls, conspiracy theorists and amateur sleuths amplifying increasingly unhinged theories.

So what do we really know about the young man who has vanished into thin air? Is it related to his chequered past? And why has the case taken the internet by storm?

Here, we answer ten key questions…

Jay Slater, who is from Oswaldtwistle near Blackburn, with his mum Debbie who flew to Tenerife 24 hours after he went missing

1. Why was Jay in Tenerife?

Jay, who hails from Oswaldtwistle, just outside Blackburn, flew to Tenerife to attend the NRG [‘New Rave Generation’] festival, a three-day dance music event that spanned the weekend of June 14-16.

Accompanied by two companions – fellow student Lucy Mae Law, 18, and friend Brad Hargreaves – he stayed at the three-star Paloma Beach apartment complex in Los Cristianos, on the south of the island. The trip represented a chance to forget about recent troubles close to home.

Earlier this month, Jay was handed an 18-month community order at Preston Crown Court for violent disorder, in a case that, according to the judge, involved ‘intimidation of witnesses, supply of class-A drugs, and street robbery’.

2. What did he do at the festival?

Festivities kicked off on Friday, and by the evening of the Sunday, Jay was preparing for the last hurrah: an all-night affair at the Papagayo beach club, a large venue looking out to sea from the end of the main strip in Playa de Las Americas, one of Europe’s busiest package destinations.

At 8.35pm, apparently before entering the venue, Jay uploaded a clip to Snapchat. He was wearing a grey T-shirt, with green trim around the shoulders, and appeared to be in high spirits.

Jay, 19, seen dancing at the Papagayo Beach beach club on the night of Sunday, June 16

Jay, 19, seen dancing at the Papagayo Beach beach club on the night of Sunday, June 16

Footage taken by festival-goers shows Jay partying the night away. One clip, taken around midnight, shows him walking through a sea of clubbers, with a pair of sunglasses propped on his head. Others, at 1am, appear to show him talking to revellers, sometimes in his T-shirt and on other occasions with his top off.

At all times, Jay appears to be carrying a selection of valuables in a small black bag. Its thick straps are slung around his neck.

3. Why did he leave without his friends?

It’s unclear when his friend Brad left the event, because he’s yet to speak publicly, but Lucy Mae has said that she became tired and decided to go home sometime before 3am. She recalls leaving Jay with a pair of English men they’d met earlier in their trip.

As the festival began to wind up, Jay decided against returning to his nearby apartment. Instead, as the sun rose, he jumped into a hire car belonging to his new acquaintances, and set off on a 45-minute drive to their remote holiday home in the Rural de Teneo, a national park in the north of the island.

4. Where did Jay go next?

Jay ended up at Casa Abuela Tina, a small, low-budget Airbnb set in a ‘unique natural landscape’ which costs £40 a night to rent. An online advertisement for the property describes it as ‘ideal to enjoy the tranquillity, reading, hiking or nature… in one of the most beautiful and rugged places on the island’.

At 7.30am, Jay used Snapchat to post an out-of-focus photo. It appears to show his right hand holding a cigarette as he walks down some steps.

The apprentice bricklayer with his friend Lucy Mae Law in nightclub

The apprentice bricklayer with his friend Lucy Mae Law in nightclub

Exactly 45 minutes later, he seems to have phoned Lucy Mae in a state of panic, saying he was trying to walk back to their apartment after being unable to catch a bus and had just 1 per cent of his phone battery left.

Lucy Mae has said that her friend had cut his leg on a cactus, needed a drink, and seemed confused, saying he ‘didn’t know where he was’. His phone went dead at 8.50am near a small town called Santiago del Teide and he was reported missing to police at 9.04am.

5. Who were the mystery duo?

According to friends of Jay, the men who invited him to the remote two-bedroom cottage hail from Luton. One is known by the nickname ‘Johnny Vegas.’

A woman identified only as Araceli, who works in the cafe next to the rental property, told reporters: ‘They came in for cafe con leche a couple of times. One was aged about 40. The other one was slightly younger.’

She added that police had obtained copies of the duo’s passports, shortly after the manhunt for Jay began. Lucy Mae, who drove to the village on the day of her friend’s disappearance, also tracked them down. She says the men told her that Jay had popped out to buy cigarettes shortly after 7.30am before coming back to the villa, saying he wished to return home and bidding them farewell.

The Papagayo beach club in Playa de Las Americas where Jay partied

The Papagayo beach club in Playa de Las Americas where Jay partied

She added that the police had interviewed both men not long after Jay went missing.

Intriguingly, the mystery duo had originally booked an extended holiday in Casa Abuela Tina from Saturday, June 15, to Monday, June 24. However they swiftly decided to cut their break short, and flew back to the UK last Tuesday.

6. Why did Jay walk into the hills?

The last person to see Jay Slater alive was Ofelia Medina Hernandez, the sister of the owner of Casa Abuela Tina. She said that shortly after 8am, she saw the teenager standing by a bus stop adjacent to the property. He’d apparently asked when the next service to Los Cristianos would depart.

‘I held up my fingers on my hands to say 10am as he didn’t understand me,’ she told the Mail, adding that she then popped home before setting out on a shopping trip to Buenavista del Norte, the largest town in the north of Tenerife, roughly half an hour’s drive away.

‘This time I saw him walking on the road out of the village. It was no more than ten or 15 minutes after I had spoken to him and he was about a kilometre from the house. I drove past him and that’s the last I saw him. He was alone. He was walking normally, though he was fast.’

Spanish police have devoted most of their resources to searching the national park, using drones, helicopters, dogs and search crews, and paying particular attention to steep ravines and a river bottom covered in dense vegetation.

7. Why was his Instagram ‘hacked’?

No sooner had Jay been reported missing than social media sites began to share extravagant theories about his disappearance. A Facebook page, ‘Jay Slater Missing’, now boasts half a million followers, and has become a forum for wild speculation about his whereabouts, with many suggesting he has either been kidnapped or gone into hiding.

Conspiracy theorist David Icke has used his social media sites to suggest that people traffickers are to blame. And contributors to Reddit have claimed that his brushes with the law suggest he fell into the clutches of an organised crime gang.

There is no proper evidence to support such theories. But Jay’s recent conviction for his role in the drug-related 2021 assault on a teenage boy who was attacked with a machete, axe and a golf club, has motivated an army of online trolls to target his family.

Mother Debbie, who flew to Tenerife 24 hours after he went missing, has complained that Britons with ‘northern accents’ are phoning her from hidden numbers.

Jay's father, Warren, and brother, Zack, join the search in Tenerife

Jay’s father, Warren, and brother, Zack, join the search in Tenerife

‘It’s sickening. People ringing me and saying they’ve got Jay because he owes them money… There’s no ransom demand come in yet but I got a Snapchat about ten minutes after I got off the plane, saying “Kiss goodbye to your boy, you’re never going to see him again, he owes me a lot of money”, which I passed on to police with the number it came from.’

Hackers have also tried to access his social media feeds. Friends and family received a notification last week saying that someone had logged into his account on Instagram, a site he’d last used in 2021. It seems to be the work of an online sleuth looking for messages that might solve the mystery.

8. Could he be a hostage?

As days passed, with the police investigation failing to yield results, friends and family have started to wonder if there might be a sinister explanation for Jay’s fate.

‘There’s something weird going on. It is suspicious,’ Lucy Mae said last Wednesday.

‘In two days you’re telling me someone’s not seen him. There’s a restaurant ten minutes away [from where he disappeared] that he would have seen or walked past. Fair enough it didn’t open for another two hours but if that were me I would have sat and waited at the restaurant till it opened and as soon as it opened I would have said, “Please can you put my phone on charge”, and then I would have rung someone, I would have rung a taxi. It’s suspicious and it’s weird.’

Jay’s mother Debbie said more recently ‘I think he’s been taken against his will, with what’s been said, but it’s in the hands of the police. It’s just traumatic and it doesn’t feel real. It’s just awful, it’s horrendous.’

Spanish police, for their part, are refusing to comment.

9. What about the church sighting?

Jay’s mother revealed over the weekend that a witness approached them saying they’d seen him on Monday night, ten hours after he supposedly vanished, walking through Sandiago del Tiede, a village just south of Masca.

‘He was with two men looking a bit worse for wear, and they were by a church – this guy has come forward and told the police about it and they are looking into it,’ Debbie told reporters.

‘We don’t know if it was Jay for sure, but it’s a start. They said it was about 6pm which is ten hours after he was seen by the lady in the village. But if it was him what was he doing there and who are these two men?’

Yesterday, the family shared new CCTV image showing a possible sighting of Jay in the town that evening. However the footage is too grainy to draw proper conclusions from.

10. What is the GoFundMe website for?

In the days after Jay went missing, several fake pages were set up on crowdfunding websites to accept donations in the family’s name.

A genuine site, started by Lucy Mae, was also set up, with users being invited to donate cash to ‘get Jay Slater home’. Last night, it contained almost £35,000, although it’s unclear what that cash will end up being spent on.

In a statement uploaded to the fundraising page on Sunday, mother Debbie thanks donors for their ‘generosity and kindness’ and suggested that the money would be use to compensate the roughly 14 family members who have travelled to Tenerife to join the search for the missing 19-year-old.

‘We have not yet withdrawn any funds and are currently covering the expenses, such as the trip to Tenerife and accommodation, ourselves,’ she wrote.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk