Community vigil marks end of police investigation into Belgian backpacker’s disappearance in Australia
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    Community vigil marks end of police investigation into Belgian backpacker’s disappearance in Australia

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

    A community vigil held on an Australian beach to mark more than three months since the mysterious disappearance of Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez coincided with the transfer of his file to the local coroner.

    “The police detectives of the Tweed and Byron district (…) have transferred his file to the Coroner of New South Wales,” a statement by the local police read, according to BX1.

    He was last seen as he was leaving a bar in Byron Bay on the night of 31 May.

    On Sunday, at least 200 people gathered for a candle-lit vigil in a beach in Byron Bay, a tourist resort where the missing Belgian was last seen, to offer support to the Hayez family and mark the definitive closure of the police investigation.

    “As you may be aware, police have prepared Théo’s case for the Coroner,” a post on the Facebook group Looking for Théo Hayez read. “Now, more than ever, we need to stay united as we embark on this new chapter — a step closer to finding Théo.”

    #lightthenightforTheoHayez Gathering for Théo Hayez to raise awareness that he’s still missing and that we never give up hope of finding Théo 🙏🏽💗🙏🏽💗

    Posted by Gaelle Kamala McKee on Sunday, September 15, 2019

    Hayez’s uncle was present at the vigil and said that the missing student’s father, who has been flying in and out of Australia, could not be present due to the “emotional roller coaster” caused by his son’s disappearance, according to Het Nieuwsblad.

    During the vigil, an altar was laid out and people wrote Hayez’s name out with beach pebbles and drew figures in the sand. The volunteers called on others to light a candle for the missing backpacker as a sign of their efforts to bring the “whole story to the light.”

    Despite extensive search efforts by local police and community volunteer groups, no significant headway has been made in the disappearance case of Hayez, an 18-year-old student from Auderghem who was in a backpacking trip in Australia.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times