Police lead final physical searches for missing Belgian backpacker in Australia
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    Police lead final physical searches for missing Belgian backpacker in Australia

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

    Specialised climbers joined authorities on Tuesday as they led the final search efforts for evidence that could shed a light into the disappearance of Théo Hayez, a Belgian student who vanished over a month ago while backpacking in Australia.

    Volunteer parties also took part in the search, which again concentrated in the area of surrounding a lighthouse in Byron Bay, the Australian resort town where the 18-year-old was last seen on May 31.

    A police source cited by Belgian media said the search should mark the last physical explorations of the area led by local authorities, after a Belgian police team arrived in the country on Saturday to assist in the investigation.

    “At some point, there is no place left to look,” the police source said, adding that missing persons investigations tended to become 100% tactical as physical searching was “progressively” phased out of the investigation.

    Authorities’ last search on Tuesday comes after volunteer search parties, joined by Laurent Hayez, the Belgian student’s father, continued scouring the area around the lighthouse at the weekend as Belgian and Australian police investigators retreated from the ground to analyse the evidence collected so far.

    The three-person team sent by Belgian authorities will remain in Australia through Wednesday, and two criminal investigators sent from Sydney as reinforcements were expected to leave Byron Bay after Tuesday’s search.

    Despite the extensive means deployed by local police to find Hayez, two security surveillance videos are the only piece of concrete evidence found since his disappearance was reported on June 6.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times