People from the community gather to help in the search for missing man Theo Hayez at Byron Bay.
People from the community gather to help in the search for missing man Theo Hayez at Byron Bay. Marc Stapelberg

'Horrible, scary': Community rallies to help find Theo

UPDATE, 12.20pm: THE Byron community has come out to help look for missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez, who disappeared more than 10 days ago.

As police continue to use drone technology to search for the missing 18-year-old, about 18 community members have created their own search party to continue looking for Theo through bushland in the Byron Bay area.

Search party organiser Noeline Smith said she wanted to continue assisting with the search because it was vital to not give up on Theo.

"I'm a mum and a grandma and I'd just like to think that if my children were trouble in another country there's be someone to help them out," she said.

The group will be searching bushland near the Byron Bay market ground and head towards Theo's accommodation on Childe St, Belongil.

"I knew that everyone would have to be going through the bush to the camps, I work with the homeless people through the Showers Project and I have a good rapport with them, so just for safety reasons I thought I'd organise something," Ms Smith said.

"We want to find something.

"We're doing the market grounds, along Shelly St on the creek, we'll be making our way up towards the Art Factory because there's quite a bit of bushland there."

Byron local and volunteer Karli Jervis said she felt "horrible" that someone had gone missing in her home town.

"I've been out to Cheeky Monkeys countless of times and walked by myself for a certain amount of time," she said.

"It just feels scary that someone, especially a foreigner, can go missing in your own town and no one knows anything or have seen anything.

"It was a Friday night, there was people and it was only about 11pm, there's people everywhere on Friday nights, especially walking up and down these streets."

Another volunteer, Jackie Sperry, said she just wanted to find Theo because she couldn't imagine the pain his family must be going through.

"I'm a mum, I would hate to think my kids were overseas and they'd been forgotten about," she said.

"It's just very concerning, Byron is a beautiful community, and this just doesn't happen here.

"It's very rare for this to happen.

"I hope we can find him."

 

UPDATE, 11am: LOCALS are continuing to gather to help in the search for missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez.

Byron Bay residents Jackie Sperry and Kim Bond said they were helping because they were concerned about the teenager.

"Anyone who has a child feels it," Ms Bond said.

"We've been following it closely for a few days now and decided last night to come down and help."

 

UPDATE, 10.35am: POLICE and the local community are continuing their search around Byron Bay to locate a man missing from the state's Far North Coast.

Theo Hayez, an 18-year-old man from Belgium, was last seen about 11pm on Friday May 31 at a hotel on Jonson Street.

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

Serious concerns are held for his welfare as his passport and personal belongings were all located at the hostel.

Missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez was last seen leaving Cheeky Monkeys Bar on May 31.
Missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez was last seen leaving Cheeky Monkeys Bar on May 31. NSW Police Media

It does not appear that Mr Hayez has made any financial transactions since his disappearance or utilised his mobile phone.

Officers from Tweed/Byron Police District with assistance from SES volunteers and members of the community have conducted extensive land searches to the east and northeast of the town.

Today, police will be utilising a specialist drone, while being assisted by New South Wales Surf Lifesaving from the water at Belongil Beach.

Tweed/Byron Police District Chief Inspector Michael Dempsey has thanked the community for their efforts in searching for Theo.

"Police would like to acknowledge and thank the local State Emergency Services staff and community members who have searched tirelessly over the last three days. Also, thanks to community members for dropping off food and drinks at our search Command Post.

"Theo's family and friends have been touched by the kindness of our local community. On behalf of Byron Bay Police, thank you for your efforts," Chief Inspector Dempsey said.

Tweed/Byron Police are continuing to appeal for public assistance, to anyone who may have CCTV from surrounding areas from about 11pm on Friday May 31, or anyone with dashcam footage from Jonson or Tennyson streets to come forward.

"Any information or sightings of Theo would greatly assist investigators," Chief Inspector Dempsey said.

Theo is described as being of Caucasian appearance, approximately 180cm to 190cm tall, with a thin build and blond hair. He was last seen wearing a black hooded jumper, beige pants and black shoes.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

 

Original story: POLICE are calling on the community for any assistance into the disappearance of Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez in Byron Bay.

As the search enters day four for the 18-year-old, who was last seen leaving Cheeky Monkeys on Jonson St, Byron Bay on May 31, police will be using drone technology to continue with their investigation today.

"Sadly we have not located Theo but will continue our search," Tweed Byron Police District Chief Inspector Matt Kehoe said.

"Whilst there is no coordinated land search tomorrow as we will be searching with our specialist drone operators and other personnel.

"I encourage community members to continue their local searches for Theo but please don't risk your own safety."

Inspt Kehoe said anyone with CCTV footage from May 31 to June 1 should contact police.

"We are still seeking residents with home CCTV to review this for the time period of 11pm on May 31 to about 4am on the June 1," he said.

Theo's family have also extended their thanks to the community throughout this difficult time.

"Theo's family and friends have been touched by the kindness of our local community," Inspt Kehoe said.

"On behalf of Byron Bay Police, thank you for your efforts.

"Police would like to acknowledge and thank the local State Emergency Services staff and community members who have searched tirelessly over last three days.

"Also thanks to community members for dropping off food and drinks at our search Command Post."

More to come.



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