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    Missing backpacker: Belgian investigators arrive in Australia

    Credit: Belga

    Belgian police officers investigating 18-year-old Théo Hayez’s disappearance in Australia have arrived in Byron Bay.  

    Around 20 volunteers were still searching on Saturday, but more than 100 were expected to join the search on Sunday.  

    Two investigators from the Hal-Vilvorde federal judicial police, as well as a member of the missing persons department, have gone to Australia for 10 days to help the Australian police. 

    “We have worked with the Belgian authorities since Théo Hayez disappeared. I am happy we will be working in close cooperation with the Belgian police over the next few days”, said Byron Bay’s police inspector Matt Kehoe. 

    The police search had to be briefly put on hold due to bad weather, but is expected to start up again next week, with special divisions also helping. The search will concentrate on the Wategos beach area. “The weather really went against us, which was frustrating for everybody”, the inspector said. 

    In the meantime, volunteers from the local community have continued to search the various surrounding areas. 25 people were out looking on Saturday and they divided themselves into groups to spread out over three main areas.

    The unofficial search’s coordinator Christos Tsesmetzis told the Belga agency they were expecting over 100 people to help on Sunday. “The search has become dangerous as the terrain is very humid and difficult”, he said. No clothes or accessories have been found as yet.  

    “Unfortunately, we don’t yet know what happened to Théo, but we will continue working to get the answers his family desperately need”, inspector Kehoe said. 

     Sarah Johansson

    The Brussels Times