After an inquest that was not able to give an explanation, the disappearance of a Belgian backpacker in Australia three years ago remains a mystery.
Theo Hayez (18) is most likely to have died shortly after he left Byron Bay, New South Wales, nightclub on 31 May 2019. A coroner ruled.
There is not enough evidence to determine how the teenager died. However, there are suggestions that he was involved in a fatal accident or was murdered by others.
Teresa O’Sullivan, a New South Wales coroner, stated that there was no reason for Mr Hayez’s intentional disappearance and declared suicide “highly unlikely”.
She was unable draw a conclusion, leaving her family without any answers.
According to one theory, Mr Hayez was killed while climbing towards a lighthouse in tourist area Byron Bay.
Another theory suggested that the teenager was killed by other people and his body was then disposed of.
Ms O’Sullivan stated that there was not enough evidence to support or disprove either theory.
Jean-Philippe Pector was Mr Hayez’s godfather. He told reporters at Byron Bay Court House, that his family hoped the “main query” would be answered one day.
He said, “It’s clearly a difficult moment because it is the end of an extremely tough process.”
“But I believe it’s best to keep the case open and allow for new evidence.”
Search started because father was concerned about his son’s safety
After eight months of travelling around Australia, Mr Hayez was about to return home to Belgium when he disappeared.
He was last seen leaving Cheeky Monkeys in Byron Bay at 11 PM.
Six days after he failed return to his hostel, the alarm was raised and he could not be reached.
Authorities launched a search but could not locate a hat that they believed was Mr Hayez’s.
The reward for information was 500,000 Australian dollars (PS278,000).
Laurent Hayez, the father of Mr Hayez, wept during an appeal when he described dangers to his son.
He stated to reporters, “I promised Theo’s little sister Lucas that I would bring his brother home.”
“Please help keep my promise to you.”
The coroner paid tribute and told the court that Mr Hayez had a bright future.
“I hope that if any additional information is available, the reward would motivate me to come forward.”