Théo Hayez is like many other school leavers. He finished his secondary education in June last year and after travelling overseas to Australia and the famous Byron Bay, he wants to study mathematics and environmental technologies at university in September. Théo has a plan to invent a car with no impact on the environment. ‘He’s a very clever guy,’ says his father Laurent.
Laurent didn’t plan an overseas trip this year but about two weeks ago he boarded a plane to Australia to search for his son. Théo has disappeared without a trace and Laurent is determined to take him home to his brother Lucas in Belgium.
There are facts and there is fiction
There are facts and there is fiction circulating about Hayez and it is the latter that is not helping matters in the search for the lad who was reportedly last seen on May 31 at Cheeky Monkey’s.
According to Laurent, Belgian journos have said that Théo was going to swim at the beach. ‘It was 4 degrees!’ says Laurent. ‘They say friends who met him outside Cheeky Monkey’s say he was too drunk to walk safely. I am 99 per cent sure these things aren’t true.’
Some have suggested Théo’s visa was about to expire and he wanted to stay, but he planned to leave Australia on June 13 and he had plenty of time left on his visa; he had stayed only about half of his allocated time.
The facts are, Théo Hayez arrived at the Wake Up! backpackers hostel two days before he vanished.
Lisa Hayez, who finished school with her cousin last year, spent two months with Théo in Melbourne earlier this year and saw him five days before he disappeared.
In a good frame of mind
‘A witness told police Théo wasn’t so drunk he couldn’t walk,’ says Laurent. ‘I know my son. He is not the kind of guy who would go bush. He told his mother, he told me, he is happy to come back [to Belgium]. He asked his mother to organise a party for him, and his friends, when he got home. So we are really sure he wanted to come back to Belgium. He was in a good frame of mind.’
Lisa says Théo already had his return ticket to Belgium when he arrived at the backpackers. ‘He was supposed to check out of the hostel on the Monday (June 3) and they called the police on Thursday after I called them. They wasted three days before reporting him missing.’
The police have done air, ground and water searches for the 18-year-old and are looking into every possible lead. Laurent says he is not an expert but he believes the police are doing a very good job.
It was important for us to say thank you
Lisa says almost 50 people came to help search for Théo last Saturday in Byron Bay. Laurent was happy for the chance to see them in person. ‘It was important for us to meet them and thank them,’ he says. ‘And important for them to meet us. We really want to put faces to names and thank them for all the kindness we have received. Not just in Byron Bay but all over the whole country. It is like a balm on our bleeding heart. They give us a force to continue and to keep hope.
‘Without those people we would be on the sofa – just crying, crying, crying. Because of the support, we keep faith. It’s amazing. People have the power.’
‘We didn’t expect that,’ says Lisa. ‘The first day I arrived here to look for Théo, we asked people to come and help us and it was only five or six people. It’s growing and growing every day and I didn’t expect that. This weekend, people flew from Sydney just to help us. That’s amazing. ‘
Lisa says she and Laurent don’t have any plans to go home. Théo’s mother arrives soon and they will go from there.
If you saw him please call the police
The Hayez family are hoping someone might have some information and will come forward.
‘If someone has any clue, or knows what might have happened, even if they are scared to tell – if you saw him please call the police’, says Lisa.
Both Lisa and Laurent want to emphasise how grateful they are to the local community for their help and support, but Laurent wants to make sure everyone who is helping to search also stays safe.
‘I don’t want to read that someone got hurt because they were looking for Théo. We want to thank everyone. We love you from the earth to the moon. On ne lâche pas! We will never give up!’
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.
The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.