The human remains discovered by police in Australia are “highly unlikely” to be those of missing Belgian backpacker Théo Hayez, police said.
The discovery was made during a search for traces of a 42-year-old Australian woman, Thea Liddle, who went missing in October 2019 and was last seen in the vicinity of Byron Bay.
That is the location of the last sighting of Théo Hayez, aged 18, who was on a backpacking trip to Australia from his home in Overijse outside Brussels. Théo was last seen leaving a bar in the town on 31 May, just a week before he was due to return home to Belgium. Phone records show that his phone pinged a mast just after midnight, close to where the remains were found, and then went dead.
Since then, the only sign found was a Puma hat similar to the one Théo was wearing on his travels, although it has not been conclusively linked to him.
The latest find is described only as human remains. The evidence has been sent off for possible identification, but for the time being it is impossible to say whether the remains are of a man or a woman.
Nonetheless, police investigating the case say the remains are “highly unlikely” to belong to Théo, said Detective Chief Inspector Brendon Cullen of New South Wales police.
“There is no connection whatsoever between the disappearance of Thea Liddle and the disappearance of Théo Hayez,” said DCI Cullen. “They are two completely separate incidents.”
Meanwhile Ms Liddle was described as living a transient lifestyle. She was last known to be living with a man, prior to which she lived in homeless camps. Although she moved around constantly, her family said she had never been known to go as long without getting in touch.