Ransom of $300,000 asked for Belgian backpacker (18) missing in Australia, podcast claims
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    Ransom of $300,000 asked for Belgian backpacker (18) missing in Australia, podcast claims

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

    An Australian podcast, The Lighthouse, which has been following the events regarding the disappearance of Théo Hayez, the 18-year-old Belgian backpacker that went missing in Australia in June this year, revealed that a ransom was reportedly asked.

    Friends and family of Hayez have allegedly been approached with the demand to pay $300,000 in ransom money, according to the Australian podcast, which is held by an investigative journalist from the newspaper The Australian.

    Hayez was last seen on 31 May at the night club The Cheeky Monkey. On Thursday, new details about his disappearance were reportedly uncovered after a bloodstained stick was found in the area. The podcast seems to imply that the disappearance is likely to have been a kidnapping.

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    Three weeks after the disappearance, Hayez’ family reportedly received a first message: “I understand that this is a frightening message to get. We have Theo. Tell his father that he is okay. He is not in Byron. We moved him and had to go into hiding because of all the attention. He’s okay now as long as his father does what we want. This is not a hoax. Your son has been kidnapped,” reports Het Nieuwsblad.

    A cousin of Hayez received a similar message and told the police, who managed to trace the location of the sender, which was not in Australia but in South-Africa.

    It is not clear whether the sender of the message has actually abducted Hayez or not. “Even if they do not, I want them punished for sending these messages,” said his godfather, reports Bruzz. “This is a crime, too,” he added.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times