Remembering Theo: The story of the missing backpacker
IT WAS meant to be the adventure of a lifetime, but that all changed when Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez disappeared one year ago in Byron Bay.
The 18-year-old was last seen leaving the popular Cheeky Monkey's Bar on Jonson St, Byron Bay on May 31, 2019.
He was reported missing to NSW Police a week later, after he'd failed to checkout of a Belongil backpackers accommodation.
His father, Laurent Hayez, told the ABC last year Theo is "a very clever guy" and had plans to study engineering at university in Belgium after his travels.
Theo also had planned to help his father in the music industry when he returned to Europe.
This week, the Hayez family thanked the hundreds of people who volunteered to search for Theo and never gave up hope he'd be found.
"The generosity of strangers has blown us away and continues to help us endure this nightmare," Theo's parents, Vinciane Delforge and Laurent Hayez, said in a joint statement.
"We miss our son tremendously and together, we must find out what happened to him."
A Tweed Byron Police District spokesman extended the entire NSW Police force's sympathies to the Hayez family.
But it was the dedication seen by the public that has left the Tweed Byron Police District feeling proud of the community they serve.
The police spokesman said they would continue to assist with the NSW Coroner's inquiry into the disappearance of Theo.
The NSW Coroner has now taken over the investigation of what happened to Theo.
"We have high hopes in the work of the NSW Coroner and her dedicated team of lawyers, and we continue to believe that somebody out there holds information that could bring new evidence to light," the Hayez family said.
"We are begging for witnesses to come forward."
Anyone with information about Theo Hayez, is urged to visit www.looking4theo.com.