6.5 C
Byron Shire
July 23, 2024

Five years since Théo’s disappearance

Latest News

New coercive control laws explained at Lennox Head tonight

With new coercive control laws coming into effect on July 1, Greens candidate for Richmond, Mandy Nolan will hold community forums – along with other speakers – in Lennox Head and Mullumbimby, during July and August.

Other News

Six slips sites, $5m and 42 weeks sees Bilambil – Urliup Road open

The 2022 floods saw the Tweed hinterland connection road between Bilambil and Urliup severely damaged with six slip sites....

Support Tweed’s rough sleepers in Tweed Heads and join the Community Sleepout

Vinnies and Fred’s Place are asking for the residents of the Tweed Shire to come together for a night and experience what it is like to be homeless.

Ballina motel siege: captives freed after 6 hrs

A man is to face court today after allegedly holding a woman and a small child against their will in a Ballina unit on Friday.

Experience books in a whole new way at Byron Writers Festival

“Living eulogies”, launches and poetic performances – Australia’s largest regional writers festival embraces the theatrical with a series of evening feature events.

Regional ratios rollout NSW begins in Lismore

The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has welcomed the announcement of nurse-to-patient ratios at two regional NSW hospitals but has expressed concern over the pace of the phased rollout.

Tyagarah – changed overnight traffic conditions

From Monday, July 22 there will be changed traffic conditions on Tyagarah Creek Bridge on the Pacific Highway at Tyagarah to carry out essential maintenance.

Théo Hayez.

Tonight at 11pm will mark the fifth anniversary of the disappearance of Théo Hayez, an 18-year-old Belgian man who was last seen leaving Cheeky Monkey’s nightclub in Byron Bay.

After months of searching by police and members of the community, an inquest in October 2022 determined that Théo was dead, but that State Coroner, Magistrate Teresa O’Sullivan, was unable to determine the exact date, place or manner of his death. 

Hayez’s family are no closer to having answers as to how and why their beloved Théo was never seen again.

Laurent Hayez with his precious son Théo as a toddler. The family live on memories. Photo courtesy Laurent Hayez.

The Echo recently spoke to Théo’s dad, Laurent, from his home in Belgium. 

‘Five years ago, on June 1 at about 1am, Théo evaporated near the Cosy Corner on Tallow Beach,’ said Laurent.

‘It’s been five cruel years of missing him – five cruel years of unanswered questions’.

‘Since then, many of us have mourned his passing, especially his brother, his mum, me, his family and his many friends in Belgium – and you, the beautiful community of Byron Bay, who hold Théo close to your heart and consider him a child of your village.


‘I was moved to learn recently that some of you will be meeting on Friday 31 next to the 19 eucalyptus plants to celebrate his birthday, and I would so much like to be with you.

‘I’m even more moved to learn that one of you, passing a young man on the pavement on her way home in the evening, slowed down and checked that it wasn’t Théo.

‘Théo is still a sunny person. Five years after his disappearance, I’m still overwhelmed and moved to discover the extent to which you have connected with his personality. In the wake of his disappearance and during the search for him, friendships have been forged and couples formed within the Byron Bay community.

‘Gone, but not extinguished, his flame will continue to light our way for eternity.’

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. The disappearance of Theo remains a dark stain on the soul of Byron Bay. We all owe deep apologies to his family and friends.
    The sunny soul of Byron has faded. Let us not forget him and the suffering left by his very strange disappearance. Let us hope that a “messenger conscience” surfaces and a diligent force ignites resolution of this mystery for the sake of all youth in Byron.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Zionism, antisemitism, Israel

Thank you for the political comment from David Heilpern (July 3) – it was to the point and very well explained. Comments on 'back to...

Byron and Tweed Councils pursue housing project dreams

Long-held council dreams of new, affordable housing on public land in the Byron and Tweed Shires are closer to being realised, mayors say, with state and federal government support.

Tweed council catching up on DA backlog

Tweed Shire Council staff say they’re catching up on and reducing the number of outstanding development applications [DAs] lodged locally.

King tide flooding in Ballina

King tides in Ballina are expected to cause minor flooding of some local roads this week.