Newly emerged footage of the night missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez vanished might prove he walked a different direction to what was initially thought.
Mr Hayez was last seen leaving the Cheeky Money’s bar in Byron Bay, in northern NSW, about 11pm on Friday, May 31, after being asked to leave for being “wobbly on his feet”.
He was captured in CCTV footage outside the bar walking in the direction of the Cape Byron Lighthouse, however, new vision could prove he actually wandered the opposite way.
In a podcast episode of The Lighthouse, run by The Australian, Mr Hayez’s cousin Michael Dorkhom revealed a man of a similar build was seen on three separate security cameras walking toward the Wake Up! hostel at Belongil Beach, where the teenager was staying.
Mr Dorkhom said an employee at a Caltex petrol station near where his cousin was last seen had sent him footage of a man he thought could have been Mr Hayez.
“The quality of the camera was not good enough that we could tell it was him. But timing matched. The way he walked, the pace. Everything matched,” Mr Dorkhom told the podcast.
Police also captured a man with an appearance similar to Mr Hayez on cameras outside the station, but again, it was too poor quality to confirm if it was him or not.
Mr Dorkhom said he and his stepsister spoke to a woman who had more footage of a similar nature at a guest house named Aloha Villas on Shirley Street during a door-to-door search.
“There was this really nice lady and we’re like, ‘we’re looking for our cousin, he went missing’. She let us in, we looked at the CCTV. And then we see the guy across the street,” he said.
The footage showed a man staring at his phone walking along the footpath on the other side of the road at 11.17pm. He appears to pause briefly before continuing in the same direction.
While impossible to tell if it was Mr Hayez, the three sets of footage may provide crucial new leads in the search for him.
The last “ping” from Mr Hayez’s phone was recorded on June 1 in the area around the Cape Byron Lighthouse.
In July this year, an independent search party found a hat which was similar to the one he owned near where his mobile phone was last registered.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.