Australia

Search for missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez suspended by police

Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez has been missing since 31 May. Source: AAP

The search for missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez, who went missing on on May 31 in Byron Bay, has come to an end.

The search for missing backpacker Theo Hayez, who disappeared without a trace in Byron Bay, has been suspended by police.

The 18-year-old traveller was last seen on CCTV walking through the popular seaside NSW town after leaving the Cheeky Monkey's bar about 11pm on 31 May.

He's not been seen or heard from since.

After almost a month of searching, NSW Police on Wednesday announced it had suspended its extensive land, air and sea operation.

However, the investigation into what happened to Theo is ongoing, police say.

"We met with Theo's family today and we send our thoughts to them all, both here in Australia and abroad," Tweed/Byron Police Commander, Superintendent Dave Roptell said in a statement.

Theo's parents Laurent Hayez and Vinciane Delforge had travelled to Australia to help in the search for their son.

The family has requested privacy in the wake of the news.

In a post to the Byron Bay community Detective Chief Inspector Matt Kehoe announced news the search had come to an end "with much sadness".

"This was not an easy decision but has been done in communication with experts and importantly, Theo's family," he wrote.

"It has been a very emotional day for Theo's family members and those involved in this operation and it will no doubt take an emotional toll in our community."

SES volunteers search for missing Belgian backpacker Laurent Hayez around Watergos beach, Byron Bay.
SES volunteers search for the missing Belgian backpacker
AAP

Police have been searching for Theo since they were alerted to his disappearance by staff at the Wake Up! Hostel in Byron Bay on 6 June.

Staff at the hostel raised the alarm six days after Theo failed to return. His belongings - including his passport - were left there untouched.

Officers from the local police district as well as the homicide squad, SES volunteers, NSW Surf Lifesaving and the Byron Bay community have scoured the area for any trace of him.

Dog, foot and aerial searches have failed to locate his clothing or phone, which volunteers feel could be key to learning his fate.

On the weekend, searchers were joined by officers from the Belgian Federal Police, who are supporting the investigation in an observer capacity.

The last "ping" from Theo's phone was recorded on 1 June in the area around the Cape Byron Lighthouse.

The final days of the search focused on this area, with abseiling crews descending down the cliffs surrounding the lighthouse in the search for clues.

Supt Roptell thanked all of those who helped in the search for Theo.

"It's times like this which shows the strength of our community," he said.

"Throughout the entire investigation, we have been liaising with the Belgian Federal Police, keeping them informed of our progress and working collaboratively with them."

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