Missing phone data may hold key to Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez’s disappearance, inquest told

A coronial inquest into lacking Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez has heard there are a variety of questions which “maintain the important thing” to the 18-year-old’s disappearance. 

The younger traveller was final seen leaving Byron Bay nightclub Cheeky Monkey’s on Could 31, 2019. 

Information from his telephone confirmed he searched instructions again to his hostel close to Belongil  Seashore, however walked in the wrong way in the direction of Tallow Seashore, close to the Cape Byron Lighthouse. 

In her opening assertion  Kirsten Edwards, Counsel Helping the Coroner, stated the important thing questions have been whether or not he was alone and misplaced and died by misadventure making an attempt to get again to his hostel, or whether or not he went to Tallow Seashore for a motive.

She requested if Theo deliberately went to Tallow Seashore, why would he do this? Was he alone, with another person, or did he come throughout somebody after being kicked out of the nightclub?

Ms Edwards stated the data from Theo’s Google account, which was accessed by his household, had been “transformative” within the investigation and supplied essential proof about his actions and actions after he left Cheeky Monkey’s.

Theo Hayez was seen leaving the Cheeky Monkey’s bar alone.(Provided: Cheeky Monkeys)

She stated Counsel Helping had not been profitable in accessing information from his telephone by multi-national firms similar to Snapchat and WhatsApp that might maintain essential info.

Why did Theo stroll to Tallow Seashore?

Ms Edwards stated there was lots of proof to recommend he was a reliable navigator, and it could have been simple for him to get again to the WakeUp Hostel, the place he was staying. 

She stated there was nothing on his Google exercise to point out he looked for Tallow Seashore or the lighthouse, which was a preferred vacationer spot for backpackers.

Telephone information revealed he stopped on the cricket nets on Tennyson Road for seven minutes. 

A young man in a white shirt smiling at the camera. Green trees behind.
Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez disappeared on the evening of Could 31, 2019.(Provided)

The inquest heard the cricket nets have been generally a hangout for individuals who take medicine.

He then took a route alongside the Milne monitor by bushland — which isn’t intuitive or sign-posted and would have been extraordinarily darkish.

Ms Edwards stated the “complexity of the route” led to one of many theories that somebody should have given him instructions or been with him.

She stated Google had been requested if anybody else had searched the Milne monitor that evening, however it was unwilling to launch information from different customers.

Belgian authorities have been ready to make use of a way often called geo-fencing to examine for different cellphones within the space and located none.

However the finer particulars of their search, similar to whether or not the geo-fencing is proscribed to specific forms of telephones, can’t be shared with no authorized help treaty that the Coroners Court docket can’t activate. 

“It is an unacceptable scenario that we will not get entry to what might be vital details about what was occurring that evening,” Ms Edwards stated.

Why did Theo flip off his telephone’s GPS service?

The inquest heard Theo travelled down the secluded Milne monitor, turning into much more remoted bushland, earlier than making his method alongside sand dunes to Cosy Nook on the northern finish of Tallow Seashore.

Ms Edwards he turned off his telephone’s GPS, about midnight, presumably to avoid wasting battery.

Shortly afterwards, he was having a “gentle alternate” with a good friend in French by Fb Messenger and watching a clip of a French present he appreciated, indicating he had possession of his telephone and felt protected.

“His telephone stopped receiving information right now from the Telstra towers, both as a result of if was out of vary or blocked from vary or it was switched off or put into flight mode.

Three men smiling with thier arms around each other.
Father Laurent Hayez, Jean-Philippe Pector, and Theo Hayez in 2015.(Provided: Jean-Philippe Pector)

“At 6.17am the telephone began receiving information once more. What this implies is the telephone no less than did not go into the water.”

Slipped and fell idea

Ms Edwards stated the working police idea was that he could have determined to stroll up the grassy facet of the Cape Byron cliff, in the direction of the lighthouse.

She stated that space of the cliff was “very harmful” regardless of wanting “deceptively simple” in the course of the day and “many dangerous issues have occurred to individuals who have tried to do it”.

Ms Edwards famous it was a idea the household discovered onerous to simply accept, given he was not a risk-taker and there would have been no seen monitor.

“It is clearly darkish and it is harmful and Theo’s household really feel that it’s utterly inconsistent with the particular person they know that he would do one thing like that.”

She stated if he had misplaced his telephone and fallen off looking for it, it could be doable for his physique to be washed away with none proof.

The courtroom heard there had been two beforehand reported instances of that taking place at Cosy Nook.

Earlier at the moment Theo’s father Laurent Hayez stated he would really like the NSW authorities to concern a reward for details about his son’s disappearance.

The inquest heard the style wherein Theo was ejected from the nightclub precipitated his household concern.

“Theo’s ejection on his personal, and with none likelihood to inform his associates, has precipitated his household an infinite quantity of misery,” Ms Edwards informed the listening to.

The inquest was adjourned for the State Coroner to go to a number of key areas in Byron Bay.

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