The SES continue their search for missing Belgian teen Theo Hayez in bushland near The Pass at Byron Bay.
The SES continue their search for missing Belgian teen Theo Hayez in bushland near The Pass at Byron Bay. Marc Stapelberg

Theo's mum's heartbreak: 'I'm hopeful but I'm realistic'

UPDATE 1.02pm: THE family of missing backpacker Theo Hayez are not giving up hope in the search for the 18-year-old, who was last seen leaving Cheeky Monkeys on May 31 in Byron Bay.

Theo's godfather Jean-Phillipe Pector said the family and friends of Theo were remaining positive as police, SES crews and community volunteers continue searching bushland between The Pass and Wategos Beach.

"Our days are so dense that we don't know what we will do in an hour. We took the opportunity to come and thank the community here," Mr Pector said.

"I know the SES come from different part of the region so that's why I brought a thank you to all from me and the family and Theo's father.

"It's amazing and it's really helped us think positive and that we will find Theo, probably not in his best but we will find him in time. That's why we're giving all that energy."

Mr Pector said Theo's family is just going day to day as they wait for any news relating to the 18-year-old's disappearance.

"(Theo's father) Laurent is really going up and down in terms of emotion and exhaustion," he said.

"He hasn't slept, he was trying to liaise with the family in Belgium who live the situation really differently than us on the ground.

"It's really hard for them, it's probably a bit easier when we are here because we understand and see and can actively do things."

Search crews have stopped for a lunch break and are expected to continue looking for Theo this afternoon.

 

UPDATE 11.40am: THE mother of missing Belgian teen Theo Hayez has expressed her fear "something bad" had happened to her son in Byron Bay.

Vinciane Delforge told Belgian broadcaster RBTF her son's disappearance was out of character

"From the beginning I thought something had happened to him, a bad meeting or an accident.

"He's a very organised boy, very well balanced. would never have acted improperly ... I'm hopeful but I'm realistic."

 

UPDATE 11.16am: POLICE have released a photo of the type of mobile phone missing backpacker Theo Hayez was using in Australia before he went disappeared last month.

Police have released a photo of the type of mobile phone missing backpacker Theo Hayez was using in Australia before he went disappeared last month.
Police have released a photo of the type of mobile phone missing backpacker Theo Hayez was using in Australia before he went disappeared last month. Contributed

It is believed Theo was using an Oppo branded mobile while travelling in Australia.

Police are currently searching the area between The Pass and Wategoes Beach after his phone last "pinged" off a communications tower in the area on June 1 about 1.40pm.

Anyone with information or who might have seen the phone should contact CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000.

The SES continue their search for missing Belgian teen Theo Hayez in bushland near The Pass at Byron Bay.
The SES continue their search for missing Belgian teen Theo Hayez in bushland near The Pass at Byron Bay. Marc Stapelberg

 

UPDATE 10.30am: POLICE are focusing the search efforts between The Pass and Wategoes Beach today as they continue to look for missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez.

Investigators are relying on mobile phone data pinpointing Theo's last movements in that particular part of Cape Byron coastline after his phone was last "pinged" off a cell tower nearby about 1.40pm on Saturday, June 1.

"Police will be focussing on an area between The Pass and Wategoes Beach. We'll be conducting an intensive line search with our OSG staff and SES volunteers based on mobile phone information that we have," Tweed Byron Police District Chief Inspector Matt Kehoe said.

"The evidence we have at this point strongly points us to this being the last location where we have any data recorded hence why we really want to focus on this particular area today.

"We're still investigating that and liaising with telecommunication groups.

"It could be human activity that Theo's used the phone and turned it on and off or it could be just how the phone has reacted to particular cell towers around this particular area.

"But given that's the last point we have that's where we're going to focus our search this morning."

 

The search continues for missing backpacker Theo Hayez.
The search continues for missing backpacker Theo Hayez. Marc Stapelberg



Inspt Kehoe said police were also working with the online messaging service WhatsApp to determine whether Theo used the messaging carrier around the time of his disappearance on May 31.

"We're still working closely with WhatsApp and I do understand we have received some information from them and our investigators will be following that up over the course of the next few days," he said.

"We're working closely with the family, we're still briefing Theo's father, Theo's godfather and Theo's cousins who are all here and we'll continue to do that.

"If anybody does have any information I ask them to come forward. 

"It's a very difficult situation at the moment because we're very limited with the amount of information that we have received. We're relying on some limited CCTV sightings and relying on very much the mobile phone usage in that period of time he was last seen."

About 30 SES volunteers are assisting in the search today as well as some community members who want to help.

"I'm still concerned he's not found. It's touched every parent's heart and even anyone who isn't a parent," volunteer and Byron local Kim Bond said.

"The community is very supportive and just wants him found."

More information to come.

ORIGINAL STORY: ENCRYPTED messaging service WhatsApp said it was working with police to help them in the search for missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez, who was believed to have used the app following his last sighting on May 31.

Family members of the 18-year-old had earlier pleaded for access to Theo's account, believing it could hold clues to his whereabouts.

Theo has been missing for almost three weeks.

WhatsApp Messenger is owned by Facebook, and messages and calls are secured with end-to-end encryption, meaning that no third party including WhatsApp can read or listen to them.

The search continues for missing backpacker Theo Hayez.
The search continues for missing backpacker Theo Hayez. Marc Stapelberg

The service has now provided information to international law enforcement officials, a spokesperson told Echo Netdaily.

"WhatsApp cares deeply about the safety of our users and our hearts go out to Théo Hayez and his family," a WhatsApp spokesperson told Echo Netdaily.

"We understand the important work being carried out by law enforcement and are assisting them in accordance with applicable law and our terms of service."

The app can offer some information but is limited in what data it can access from Theo's encrypted conversations.

ABC news reported Theo was asked to leave Cheeky Monkeys in Byron Bay "after showing signs of intoxication".

Police Officers from the Tweed Byron Police District and members of the local SES have been searching for the backpacker since June 9, after he was reported missing June 6.

Yesterday officials conducted searches around the Pass, Wategos and the Byron Bay lighthouse looking for the missing person, but found nothing.

It's an area where pings were detected from his phone after he was last seen leaving Cheeky Monkey's on the Friday night.

Tweed/Byron Police District said the search was suspended at 4pm and will resume again today.

Police continue to urge the community, if anyone has seen Theo or may have information regarding his whereabouts to please contact Tweed Heads Police on 07 55069499, or Byron Bay Police on 02 66859499 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.