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Byron Shire
July 23, 2024

Five years since Théo’s disappearance

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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.

Anniversary

‘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.’


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1 COMMENT

  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.

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