Family spot new detail in photo of missing Byron Bay backpacker

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·2-min read

The focus of the family of backpacker Theo Hayez who went missing from Byron Bay last year has shifted to an accessory he was seen wearing in photos prior to his disappearance.

The search for Hayez, who vanished from the northern NSW coastal town on May 31, 2019, gripped the nation as police, scores of local volunteers and his family who flew over from Belgium scoured the area for any signs of the 18-year-old.

The teen was last seen leaving Cheeky Monkey’s bar wearing a grey cap which was believed to have been found weeks later in bushland near Tallows Beach, on the east side of the town and the last known GPS location from his phone.

Theo Hayez is pictured. The backpacker disappeared from Byron Bay over a year ago.
Theo Hayez disappeared from Byron Bay over a year ago. Source: Facebook

While the official NSW Police search was called off three months after Mr Hayez went missing, those committed to unearthing the details of his disappearance are seeking information on a mystery watch he was seen wearing during his time in Australia.

“The black watch that Théo was wearing wasn't the one we thought, but a new one rather similar,” the Facebook page Looking for Theo Hayez explained.

The page asked its 16,000 followers to help identify the watch, which is believed to have been purchased after the strap on his previous watch had broken and was found among his belongings.

Theo Hayez is seen here wearing a black watch he didn't have when he arrived in Australia.
Attentions have turned to a watch that Mr Hayez didn't have when he arrived in Australia. Source: Facebook

After much speculation on the model, the page said the watch had been identified as a Rip Curl Drifter Digital Black A2982.

A leading theory into his disappearance is that he fell from cliffs near Cape Byron Lighthouse into the water below.

Yet his family have been dismissive of such a theory and harbour belief he may have been abducted.

Mr Hayez was staying in a hostel on the west side of the town.

His cousin, Lisa, said in a Facebook video in June his family believe he may have had company as he made his way through dense bushland behind Tallows Beach.

“Someone might have been with him or seen him and might not have even known he had gone missing,” she said.

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