Missing Belgian backpacker's parents fly home from Australia, vow to return

Missing Belgian backpacker's parents fly home from Australia, vow to return
Theo Hayez, 18, was last seen on May 31 in Byron Bay, Australia. Credit: Belga

The parents of Théo Hayez, a Belgian backpacker gone missing in an Australian resort town in May, flew back to Belgium at the weekend after weeks of searching for their son, but his father has vowed to fly back in the coming months, saying his return was "not the end," according to local media reports.

Hayez's parents said they were returning to Belgium to be with their family and youngest son, his father said in an interview with local outlet Echonetdaily.

"We are leaving on Saturday," he said. "It is important that we go home and see family and spend time with Théo’s little brother Lucas."

Laurent Hayez arrived in Australia mid-June, following the disappearance of his 18-year-old son, who vanished without a trace on the night of May 31 in Byron Bay, a popular destination for backpackers in Australia.

Despite over a month of physical searching in which authorities deployed intensive resources such as drones and sniffer dogs and in which professional divers, climbers and local volunteers took part, no trace has been found of the missing Belgian.

The departure of Hayez's parents follows that of a special federal police team sent to Australia by Belgium at the start of July to assist local authorities in the investigation.

But even as the departure of the Belgian police marked the last physical searches led by authorities for the Belgian backpacker, Hayez father said he will return to the country in the coming months to keep looking for his missing son.

"This is not the end. I will be back in early August and will continue looking for Théo," he told the Australian outlet.

Authorities and volunteers have been looking for Hayez since his disappearance was reported on June 6. Two CCTV videos are the only piece of concrete evidence found since.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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