Murder investigation opened after disappearance of Belgian backpacker in Australia
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Murder investigation opened after disappearance of Belgian backpacker in Australia

Investigators have opened a murder investigation after a young Belgian backpacker went missing in Australia at the end of May. Credit: Facebook.

A murder investigation has been launched following the disappearance of Théo Hayez, a young Belgian student, in a coastal resort in Australia after his father flew into the country at the weekend.

Murder investigators have travelled to Byron Bay to assist in the investigation into Théo Hayez’s disappearance more than a fortnight ago.

Hayez, an 18-year-old student from Auderghem, was last seen on May 31 as he was leaving an establishment in Byron Bay, a popular destination for backpackers in Australia.

On Monday morning in Australia, the father of the missing Belgian backpacker gave a press conference, held in English, in which he called on anyone with information to reach out to local authorities.

Hayez’s father also requested access to his son’s WhatsApp account, saying it was of “vital” importance after the investigation showed that the missing student used the messaging app a few hours before he disappeared.

MISSING MAN

#LIVE: Police are addressing the media alongside the father of an 18-year-old man who has been missing for 18 days after disappearing from the streets of Byron Bay.Theo Hayez was last seen leaving the Cheeky Monkey's bar around 11.00pm on May 31: https://9Soci.al/N73230oX2vO#9News | https://9News.com.au

Posted by 9 News on Sunday, June 16, 2019

“When I left Belgium, I promised Théo’s little brother, Luca, that I would bring his brother home,” Hayez father said, fighting back tears. “Please, help me keep my promise to him.”

On Sunday, local police released a second video of Hayez. Taken at around 19:45 on the night of his disappearance, the video shows Hayez and a second individual entering a liquor store.

Both videos are so far the only evidence of the 18-year-old Belgian backpacker that police have been able to obtain.

“We are disconcerted, because it is all we have,” police superintendent Dave Roptell said, referring to the videos.

On June 13, Belgian federal police launched an appeal for public assistance as efforts to find Hayez continue with the help of drones, sniffer dogs and lifesavers.

“I cannot say whether we are going to find Théo alive, but I am hopeful,” Roptell said.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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