Missing Belgian backpacker’s phone records lead search to lighthouse
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    Missing Belgian backpacker’s phone records lead search to lighthouse

    Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez disappeared in Australia on May 31. Credit: © Belga

    Efforts to find Théo Hayez, Belgian backpacker who disappeared in Australia over a fortnight ago, have been narrowed down to a lighthouse where his phone signal was last detected, as the search for the young backpacker continued on Tuesday.

    The ongoing investigation has allowed authorities to advance in their search after they were able to obtain information about the young Belgian’s smartphone.

    Hayez, an 18-year-old student from Auderghem, was last seen at around 23:00 on May 31 as he was leaving an establishment in Byron Bay, a popular destination for backpackers in Australia.

    The last signal emitted by Hayez’s smartphone was on June 1, and authorities have been able to track it down to the area around the lighthouse.

    “We know about the phone, but our search is not limited to finding it — anything that can lead us to Théo is good,” lead inspector in the case, Matthew Kehoe, said, according to Het Laatste Nieuws.

    The search for Hayez has been ongoing since June 6, day in which he was reported missing, but police have been not been able to find any significant evidence and a murder investigation was opened on Monday.

    Later on Monday, messaging app WhatsApp said it would assist police in their search efforts, after Hayez’s father called on to the company to release data which could shed more light into the disappearance of his son, in an emotional press conference given in Byron Bay.

    While Hayez’s father had requested access to his son’s conversations, the messaging app said they could only provide information regarding the smartphone’s IP address, or the last time Hayez’s was active in the app, since conversations are encrypted.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times