Frequently asked questions

Up to date answers on Théo's disappearance

What do we know?

Théo arrived in Byron Bay on the Wednesday 29th of May 2019. He checks in at the Wake Up! Hostel for a bed in a shared room of 6 people.

On the evening of the 31st of May 2019, Théo meets Antoine at the BBQ organised by Wake Up! Antoine is also Belgian and stays at the hostel but in a different room. Around 6:30pm, they take the shuttle together from the hostel to a bottle shop in central Byron Bay (Northern Bottle shop) where they bought a 2L cask of wine to share with others at the BBQ. Theo and Antoine take an Uber and return to the BBQ at Wake Up! where they spend the start of the evening together. Théo, Antoine and 4other people take the shuttle from the Wake Up! to go to Cheeky Monkey’s and arrive there at 09:35pm. They separate shortly after entering the bar. Théo spends a short time sitting at a table with a number of people. He and a young woman in a white t-shirt drink their glasses of beer. He gets up and dances on the table, as is the custom at the bar, along with some of the people who were at the table with him, including the young woman in the white t-shirt.He orders a 2nd beer and continues dancing with his glass in his hand. A bit later, he goes to the toilets. A security guard follows him and waits for him outside the toilets. When he comes out, the guard asks him to follow, which Theo does respectfully and without resistance. He is asked to leave the bar and the reason given was that he was approaching intoxication. He cooperated fully and was not aggressive.
He was last seen at 11:00pm, on the bar’s CCTV, leaving Cheeky Monkeys alone after turning left into Kingsley Street.

The family managed to access his phone’s Google account and discovered that Théo had activated his phone’s GPS from 11:00pm to 00:05am. The path that his phone took and average speed was therefore rather accurately recorded. We presume that Théo was with his phone during that time. He walked from the Cheeky Monkey to the end of Tennyson Street (Recreational Grounds) stopped there for 7 minutes, behind the cricket nets and then start walking faster towards theEast to enter the Arakwal National Park on Milne Track but leave the track to follow the large sand path in the direction of Tallow Beach Car Park but, instead of continuing further towards the road, turns right into the thick bush scrub towards Tallow Beach, where there is no defined path. He eventually arrives on Tallow Beach and turn left and continues towards Cosy Corner. He enters a little clearing into the bush there and stops for 5:30 min before going back on the beach.

This is where the GPS gets deactivated at 00:05am. It is not clear at this stage where he went after.Théo sent a message to a friend in Belgium at 00.20am on the 1st of Jun eand a last one on WhatsApp at 00:56am, to his stepsister in Belgium.

The police have indicated that, based on the Telstra data analysis, Theo’s phone was in “sleep mode” (phone turned on but not in use) between 02:00 and 06:00am. The last ping from Theo’s mobile occurred at 1:42pm on June 1st 2019 and was received by the Telstra antenna on the water reservoir on Paterson Street, which has a broad coverage. That last “ping” didn’t contain a disconnection signal. When a mobile phone is switched off or switches itself off due to low battery, a specific signal is sent to the network to indicate that it is disconnecting. This signal was not received. There could be a number of reasons for this. Either the phone signal was lost due to lack of reception (the phone went out of range), the battery was removed, or the phone was damaged (broken or in the water).

  • Théo was due to check out of the Wake Up! Hostel on the Monday 3rd of June 2019. Most of his belongings including his passport were left at theHostel.
  • The alert of his disappearance was given by the family on the 6th of June after unsuccessful contact attempts.
  • The NSW Police and the Belgian Embassy were informed that Théo was missing on that day.
  • The Wake Up Hostel also called the police on that same day, 3 days after Théo was due to check out.
  • The first Police media release is made on the 7th of June with a public appeal to locate Théo.
  • The first volunteer search is organised by Lisa and Michael, Théo’s cousins on Saturday the 8th.
  • Sunday 9th of June, Police conduct a major land, sea and air search in the Byron Bay area with the assistance of rescue officers, the StateEmergency Service, a lifesaver helicopter and lifesavers.
  • Wednesday July 3rd 2019, NSW Police announce the full-scale search for Theo has been called off, but investigations are ongoing.
  • On Sunday 7th of July, a cap matching the description of Theo’s was found in bushland by volunteers on the path he took through the bush in the National Park.
  • The family and police are convinced that it is Théo’s hat. The cap found was the exact same model and colour (grey, not black), shows the same wear and tear on the brim, and the position precisely matches one of his last known GPS locations.
  • Thursday 5th of September, the Byron Bay Police Detective informs the family that they have determined a most likely scenario in which Théo would have fallen into the ocean and taken away by the currents. The explanation given for the path that Théo took after leaving the Cheeky Monkeys is that he was lost and confused thinking he was heading back to the hostel. Although no definitive piece of information can exclude this theory, no physical evidence has consolidated it and all the other possible scenarios haven’t been unvalidated either. Following this, police also informs the family that they are getting ready to refer the matter to the Coroner.
  • The matter has been officially received by the Coroner on the 16th September 2019.
What was Théo wearing?
A grey cap with a white puma logo
A black hoodie with a kangaroo pouch and a white design on the front
A black watch
Tan pants
Completely black running shoes (most probably Adidas)

For pictures of these, please download this poster.
Is there a map of all the places that have been searched?
Yes, a centralised map of the areas searched has been created to help volunteer coordinators organise and plan searches. This map will not be made public. If you are planning to search in a specific area please contact as at theohayezgps@gmail.com.
Has his cards been used/did he use card or cash/did he withdraw a large amount?
His bank accounts and cards have not been used since leaving the Cheeky Monkey the night of May 31st. He wasn't carrying cash with him as far as we know (reported by a friend) and he did not withdraw any large sums leading up to the 31st.
Have the beaches/creeks/rivers etc been searched/is it possible he went for a swim?
The beaches/creeks/etc have been searched by volunteers, police, surf life savers, SES, metal detectors etc. Considering it was a very cold and windy night with temperatures around 4-6 degrees, it is very unlikely.
Is it possible he does not want to be found/is trying to overstay his Visa?
Théo had only been travelling Australia for less than 7 months, so he was not at risk of his Visa running out. He was excited to go back home and had his bus journeys to Sydney/Melbourne booked coordinated with his flights back to Belgium, about 2 weeks after he was last seen. All of his personal belongings including his passport were left at his room at the Wake Up! Hostel.
Have psychics/mediums been brought in?
Yes, there has been some involvement and any information has been reported.
How do we know he didn't return to the Wake Up! Hostel?
There is no evidence to suggest he returned to the Hostel that night. He did not use his swipe key, CCTV has been checked and others staying at the Hostel have been spoken to.
Did the parents come to Byron Bay?
Théo’s Mum and Dad (Vinciane and Laurent) came inByron bay in June and July 2019 thanks to a crowdfunding campaign. It is not financially possible for them to stay for a long period away from their work and the rest of their families. Laurent came back shortly also to meet the Byron Bay police when just before they were going to refer the matter to the Coroner.
Have metal detectors/drones/helicopters/thermal imaging drones/boats/police divers/sniffer dogs etc. been used in the search?
Yes, both the police and volunteers have used various methods including all the above during the search.
Have accounts and apps been checked?
Yes, different accounts and apps have been thoroughly investigated. The police and family have this information. We didn’t have access to Théo’s last photos taken with his phone as he didn’t have an automatic backup uploading them on the cloud.
Has CCTV/Dash cam footage been looked into?
Yes, many local places/private properties have been asked for CCTV footage. There is a vast amount of CCTV being reviewed. The police have requested that anyone with dash cam footage from the late hours of the 31st of May to the early hours of the 1st of June forward the footage on to the police.
Have the Taxi companies/Uber been investigated?
Yes, Théo's Uber account was investigated and Taxi services have been contacted.
Have the hospitals/emergency rooms in Byron Bay and surrounding areas been contacted?
Yes, in the first few days after the family were alerted to Théo being missing the police have send the info to the hospitals. The family also did, with the help of many local volunteers make sure lots of posters were displayed locally and in the hinterland.
Has the man with him in the bottle shop/people at Wake Up! or the Cheeky Monkey etc… been interviewed?
Yes, different accounts and apps have been thoroughly investigated. The police and family have this information. We didn’t have access to Théo’s last photos taken with his phone as he didn’t have an automatic backup uploading them on the cloud.
Has the poster been shared on different Facebook groups/Instagram?
Yes, it has been shared to many groups across Australia, and it doesn't hurt to share among more. Instagram posts have been created as well as the hashtags #findtheohayez and #theohayez and shared by influencers with large amounts of followers.
I heard he was seen running down the street, is this true?
This is unconfirmed. A person who was being interviewed said they saw him running down Shirley street and while it can't be ruled out there is conflicting information to suggest it wasn't him.
Is the CCTV footage from Caltex/Aloha valid?
Although it was originally thought to be Théo, the footage has now been deemed inconclusive by the police.
Was he looking for (farm) work while he was here?
No, he already did some farm work previously in Victoria. He was not looking for work as he was only travelling for 8 months and had planned to go back home mid-June 2019.
I saw a post that Theo was seen in (insert city here), is this true?
This page will confirm when Théo is found. Please be mindful that there are many sightings and each one that is reported will be investigated.
Thank you to the people of Belgium, Australia and elsewhere for the attention and love that you bring to Theo!

You are not mistaken! He deserves it!

Théo arrived in Australia on the 12th of November.

He was welcomed and hosted by his Godfather, who lives in Victoria 200km west of Melbourne. That’s where Théo spent the first month of his adventure.

Then, Théo had the chance to get a job at the Australian Open Tennis.

In February, he went to Tasmania with a Swiss backpacker.

Once back on the mainland, Théo met with his cousin Lisa and they both started working in a farm to harvest apples and pears.

He also had the opportunity to work in a gardening company (like his father, who is a Landscape Architect)

After that, he traveled with other backpackers to Alice Springs in central Australia, after which he moved north to Cairns.

He began to travel south along the east coast to finally get to Byron Bay on May 29th.

He had planned to leave Byron on Monday June 3rd to catch-up with his Godfather in Melbourne on June 8th...

He was excited to return home on June 13th! A few days before his disappearance, he asked his mum if it was possible to organise a party at her house with all his friends to celebrate him being back in Belgium...

He also asked me (Laurent) if it would be possible to work with me in gardening to earn some money once he was back.

In September, Théo intended to start engineering studies in mechanical technologies, related to the environment.

Since a young age, Théo has been very interested in the environment and dreams of inventing a car that will have zero impact on the planet ....

His Mom, his brother Lucas and I keep hope, thanks also to the incredible support of the Belgian, Australian and Byron community. Hoping for the possibility of another scenario than the one of the accident !!!!

If, however, Théo has left this poor Earth, and is currently having fun with whales, turtles and dolphins...; Vinciane, Lucas and I, while looking at the beautiful smile of Théo on the pictures of his Australian adventure, are relieved to see that he spent the last 6 months (of his too short life ...) in a beautiful country, meeting wonderful people!

Thank you to the people of Belgium, Australia and elsewhere for the attention and love that you bring to Theo!

You are not mistaken! He deserves it !"

Vinciane Delforge, Lucas and Laurent Hayez

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