Father breaks down after flying in to bolster search for missing Belgian

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Theo Hayez’s father makes emotional press plea to find 18yo who is ‘in grave danger’ By crime reporter Mark Reddie and Lily Mayers Video: Father of missing backpacker calls on WhatsApp to release messages  The father of a missing Belgian backpacker has made an emotional plea for information as homicide detectives join the search effort in northern NSW.    Theo Hayez’s father, Laurent Hayez, broke down as he pleaded for public information about his son’s disappearance, saying the 18-year-old was “in grave danger”. “When I left Belgium I promised Theo’s little brother, Lucas, I would bring his brother home, please help me keep my promise to him,” he said. Theo had been in the popular tourist town of Byron Bay for less than 24 hours when he disappeared after leaving the Cheeky Monkey’s nightclub at around 11pm on Friday, May 31. “We know that Theo used WhatsApp the night he disappeared,” Mr Hayez said. “We understand the politics about confidentiality and respect that. “However, this is a question of providing assistance to a person in grave danger. “It is vital that investigators get access to Theo’s WhatsApp account without delay. Every minute counts.”‘We are baffled’ NSW police were notified of Theo’s disappearance when hostel staff found his belongings, including his passport, in his room, but realised he had failed to check out. SES crews, the dog squad, lifeguards, local volunteers and police are continuing to search the Byron Bay headlands, east and north of the town, as well as beaches and swamps. Rescue teams have also searched the Cape Byron area, where his mobile phone was last “pinged” on June 1, 2019. But so far, there has been no trace of him. Photo: Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez was due to fly home in early June.    A NSW Police spokesperson said they were not able to rule anything out and that “there’s no indication at the moment of which way the search is going”. Detectives have released new CCTV footage showing Theo at a convenience store about 7.45pm on the evening he disappeared. “We are baffled. We are baffled because that is all we have,” the spokesperson said. Mr Hayez thanked those involved in the search effort.  “I would like to thank his cousin and his godfather, who since it was discovered that Theo was missing, have been searching for him,” he said. “I would like to thank the Byron Bay community and all Australians for their welcome, logistical support and their lovely kindness. “Thanks also to SES and all the volunteers who have been searching for him.” More stories from New South Wales

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