Expatica news

Australia offers reward in search for missing Belgian backpacker

Police in Australia have announced a Aus$500,000 (US$360,875) reward for information about the disappearance of Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez, nearly three years after the 18-year-old went missing.

At the time of his disappearance, Hayez had been staying in Byron Bay, a popular beachside enclave on Australia’s east coast, and was last seen outside a local nightclub on May 31, 2019.

Nearly a week later, police were alerted that the teenager had failed to return to his hostel, sparking the first of many searches across the local area and surrounding ocean — yet years later what happened to Hayez remains a mystery.

Hayez’s parents, who live in Belgium, welcomed the decision to offer a reward.

His mother, Vinciane Delforge, said that “any detail, big or small, could help transform the investigation”.

Without answers the family’s grief was “endless and ambiguous”, she said.

Hayez’s father, Laurent Hayez, said a key question they are hoping to answer is whether his son was with someone on the night he went missing, May 31, 2019, adding that he “strongly” believed that to be the case.

The local coroner in Australia is currently examining Hayez’s disappearance.