News State NSW News Byron Bay residents take up search for missing backpacker

Byron Bay residents take up search for missing backpacker

missing belgian backpacker
The official search for missing backpacker Theo Hayez has been suspended but residents have rallied to take over.
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The physical search for missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez has been suspended, but volunteers in Byron Bay plan to continue scouring the area.

Theo, 18, was last seen leaving the Cheeky Monkey’s bar about 11pm on May 31.

The last “ping” from Theo’s phone was recorded on June 1 in the area around the Cape Byron Lighthouse.

Although the physical search for Theo has been suspended for Saturday and Sunday, detectives will continue to go through information provided to them, a NSW Police spokesman said on Saturday morning.

They will assess whether to continue the physical search on Monday, however, that hasn’t stopped volunteers from rallying together in Byron Bay on Sunday to co-ordinate search efforts.

“We can’t stress enough that we need more community volunteers,” Sheri S’Rosario wrote on the Facebook group “Looking for Theo Hayez”.

Byron Bay residents will continue the search for missing backpacker Theo Hayez. Photo: Facebook

The call out comes after Theo’s father Laurent Hayez reached out to thank Byron Bay locals.

“Your warmness and kindness is like a balm on our bleedin’ heart,” Mr Hayez posted to a group for the Byron Bay community on Friday night.

“You give us force and faith. We love u from the earth to the moon (What Theo told me one evening in his bed at age of five) … ”

Missing backpacker Theo Hayaz who has not been seen for more than a fortnight.

Detective Inspector Matt Kehoe also took to the Facebook group to thank the Byron Bay community.

“The kindness, compassion and selflessness of everyone involved demonstrates what a wonderful place this truly is,” Insp Kehoe said in a statement on Saturday.

“Sadly our search efforts … do not have any more answers for Theo’s family.”

However, through time spent with Theo’s family, Insp Kehoe said he is “strengthened to continue our efforts” to locate the teenager.

Mr Hayez on Monday made an emotional plea for help, begging encrypted chat service WhatsApp to grant police access to his son’s final known conversations.

The company provided what information they could but were unable to access the content of the messages, AAP understands.

Belgian police are also working in Europe to speak with people Theo may have contacted in those hours.

More than $70,000 has been raised via a GoFundMe page for the family, part of which was used to help Mr Hayez fly to Australia.