Search concludes for missing Belgian man at Byron Bay

A police search operation on the state’s far north coast for missing Belgian man Theo Hayez has been suspended.

The 18-year-old was last seen about 11pm on Friday 31 May 2019 at a hotel on Jonson Street.

Police were alerted on Thursday 6 June when he failed to return to his hostel and could not be contacted or located.

Officers from Tweed/Byron Police District with assistance from several NSW Police Force units including the SCC Homicide Squad, local SES volunteers, NSW Surf Lifesaving and the Byron Bay community have conducted extensive land, air and sea searches since this date.

Further searches were conducted this week utilising the assistance of the NSW Police Rescue Squad near the Byron Bay lighthouse area.

Three officers from the Belgian Federal Police arrived at the weekend to support the ongoing investigation in an observer capacity.

While police have suspended the full-scale physical search, the investigations are ongoing.

Tweed/Byron Police Commander, Superintendent Dave Roptell would like to thank the Byron Bay community and the local volunteers who assisted with the search on behalf of the NSW Police Force, Belgian authorities and Theo’s family.

“It’s times like this which shows the strength of our community. We want to thank each and every person who assisted and who provided support.

“Throughout the entire investigation we have been liaising with the Belgian Federal Police, keeping them informed of our progress and work collaboratively with them. Belgian authorities have been appreciative of the work being undertaken.

“We met with Theo’s family today and we send our thoughts to them all, both here in Australia and abroad,” Superintendent Roptell said.

Northern Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell APM would like to acknowledge and thank the overwhelming support the Byron Bay community has provided during this investigation.

“This search has brought the Byron Bay community together in more ways than one, and they have supported not only our officers but Theo’s family during this difficult time.

“I would like to personally acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our Tweed/Byron Police District officers and the Belgian authorities; their collaboration and support has been second to none,” Assistant Commissioner Mitchell said.

Theo’s family have requested privacy at this time.

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