On May 31, 2019, the 18-year-old was seen leaving Cheeky Monkey’s nightclub in Byron Bay. As he made his way back to the hostel where he was staying, Hayez messaged a friend back home in Belgium just after midnight.
Almost a week later, however, the 18-year-old was reported missing when he failed to check out from the WakeUp! hostel in Byron Bay, leaving his belongings – including his passport – untouched in his room.
Watch the trailer for The Lighthouse podcast below. Post continues after video.
Following Hayez’s disappearance, State Emergency Service volunteers, dogs, drones and members of the public searched unsuccessfully for the backpacker in a months-long search, finding little clues in regards to his disappearance.
Three and a half months after Hayez vanished, however, the case was referred to the New South Wales coroner – bringing the official police search to an end.
In November last year, The Australian podcast team behind the award-winning podcasts The Teacher’s Pet and Who the Hell is Hamishv released The Lighthouse podcast, which investigates the search for Hayez.
Now, nearly a year on from his disappearance, Hayez’s family have released a message in the Looking for Theo Hayez Facebook group, thanking the public for their ongoing efforts to help find their son.
“Since the beginning of the year, we have spoken less publicly about developments,” the post read.
“Far from us giving up hope or dedication, the main reason is because the ongoing police process means we need to be careful about what we say. We think about Theo every minute and would like to share any information that may help to find out what happened to him but we have to be careful that we also give the police the best chance of finding this out.”