WhatsNew2Day
Latest News And Breaking Headlines

Teo Hayez telephone mystery solved in Byron Bay hunt for Belgian backpacker after Oppo finds on beach

Police investigating missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez found a phone like his on the beach where he disappeared – but didn’t find its owner until this week.

Theo, 18, disappeared on May 31, 2019 after being kicked out of Byron Bay nightclub Cheeky Monkey’s on the north coast of NSW.

Data from Google and cell phones tracked his movements to a beach at the base of the Byron Bay lighthouse before his phone mysteriously turned off and he disappeared.

Detectives launched an intense hunt when days later the alarm was finally raised with repeated searches of the Cozy Corner beach where Google Maps last saw him.

Now that the investigation into his disappearance has revealed that police have found a purple Oppo phone that resembles the teen’s at the site, but it was an older model.

Counsel who assisted Kirsten Edwards had previously said that new information had been found in the case.

Police investigating missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez found a phone like his (similar to the one pictured) on the beach where he disappeared - but didn't find its owner until this week

Police investigating missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez found a phone like his (similar to the one pictured) on the beach where he disappeared – but didn’t find its owner until this week

The route Theo took to Tallow Beach and Cozy Corner after being kicked out of Cheeky Monkey's nightclub on the night he disappeared in May 2019.

The route Theo took to Tallow Beach and Cozy Corner after being kicked out of Cheeky Monkey's nightclub on the night he disappeared in May 2019.

The route Theo took to Tallow Beach and Cozy Corner after being kicked out of Cheeky Monkey’s nightclub on the night he disappeared in May 2019.

But no one seems to have tracked down the owner of the phone…until this week.

Detective Senior Constable Phil Parker said he interviewed the registered owner of the SIM card earlier this week, who revealed she had lost the phone at a beach party on site on Aug. 9, 2019.

Det Snr Con Parker said other sleuths in the area also found a Nokia phone, golf balls, footballs, discarded bongs and a host of other items, but no trace of Theo’s Oppo R17.

He said he and Detective Inspector Grant Erickson wrote off the phone shortly after it was discovered, but instructed others to find and return its true owner.

However, a recent check of the logs revealed that no one had been found until this week.

“It was a darker purple phone, and it didn’t seem smaller, but a thicker shape, like an old-style phone as opposed to the R17, which is a bit slimmer,” he said.

“I said to an officer, ‘Please inquire to get that phone back so we can rule it out.'”

But he admitted, “There was no data on our computer system for that person and there were no further lines of investigation to locate that person.”

He then tracked down the owner himself this week before giving testimony during the judicial investigation on Wednesday.

The inquest so far has heard from fellow backpackers, family members, friends and telecommunications experts in an attempt to summarize what happened to Theo on the night of May 31, 2019.

Earlier this week, the fellow Belgian backpacker who bought goon with Theo Hayez at a Byron Bay bottle shop the night he went missing spoke about their last moments together.

Antoine Van Laethem met Theo at a barbecue in their hostel Wake Up! and the pair had bonded over their shared hometown of Brussels, he told Tuesday via a video link.

On the day of Theo’s disappearance, Mr. Laethem had taken a long walk along the beach with another friend to Cape Byron’s famous lighthouse.

This is something he “maybe” discussed with Theo, who was last seen being kicked out of the Cheeky Monkey’s bar at 11pm on May 31, 2019.

Police theory is that Theo tried to climb the cliffs on Cozy Corner beach, fell and was dragged into the sea.

Why he walked in the opposite direction of the Google Maps route he had mapped out back to his hostel remains a mystery.

Antoine agreed that the two from Brussels “clicked” and later wrote in a police statement that Theo “came across to me as someone who is open-minded and can talk to people easily.”

He recalled that Theo was ready to leave Australia and was “pretty excited to get back home to meet his friends” and started his engineering degree in September.

Theo Hayez was nearing the end of a six-month backpacking trip through Australia and was due to return to Belgium to do technical tests when he went missing

Theo Hayez was nearing the end of a six-month backpacking trip through Australia and was due to return to Belgium to do technical tests when he went missing

Theo Hayez was nearing the end of a six-month backpacking trip through Australia and was due to return to Belgium to do technical tests when he went missing

Police theory is that Theo Hayez tried to climb the cliffs on Cozy Corner beach, fell and was swept into the sea off Byron Bay in May 2019.

Police theory is that Theo Hayez tried to climb the cliffs on Cozy Corner beach, fell and was swept into the sea off Byron Bay in May 2019.

Police theory is that Theo Hayez tried to climb the cliffs on Cozy Corner beach, fell and was swept into the sea off Byron Bay in May 2019.

Theo Hayez was last seen being evicted from the Cheeky Monkey bar in Byron Bay at 11pm on May 31, 2019.

Theo Hayez was last seen being evicted from the Cheeky Monkey bar in Byron Bay at 11pm on May 31, 2019.

Theo Hayez was last seen being evicted from the Cheeky Monkey bar in Byron Bay at 11pm on May 31, 2019.

Video footage showed the pair later looking for “cheap wine” in a local bottle shop, settling on a two-liter box of De Bertoli Rose for $11, which they returned to the hostel and shared with others.

He thinks they both drank about three glasses because they didn’t like the taste.

“He didn’t seem that drunk or tipsy,” Mr. Laethem said.

The backpackers later took a shuttle bus into town.

Mr Laethem said he remembered the night being particularly cold and the group never talked about drug use or showed any interest in doing so.

After the group gained access to Cheeky Monkey’s Theo, interactions with his new friend diminished and Mr. Laethem said he had no idea he’d been turned away.

So he sent him a Facebook message the next day with translated words: “Did you come home okay?”

Laethem left Byron Bay on June 1, but later returned when Theo’s niece Lisa Hayez contacted him and helped police with their search.

Counsel assisting the investigation, Kirsten Edwards, asked if he had thought about his own theory of what had happened.

‘I do not know. I can’t say anything could have happened,” said Mr. Laethem.

The investigation continues.

.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More