Mr Hayez’s parents, Vinciane Delforge and Laurent Hayez, said in a statement to 9news.com.au they continue to believe someone knows what happened to their son after he disappeared from Cheeky Monkey’s bar on the evening of May 31 2019.
“One year on, we believe that there is much more to Théo’s story than has been brought to light,” they said.
“We have high hopes in the work of the NSW Coroner and her dedicated team of lawyers, and we continue to believe that somebody out there holds information that could bring new evidence to light.
“We are begging for witnesses to come forward. We continue our plea to anyone who might be withholding information to come forward.”
Mr Hayez’s parents have thanked the public for their support during their “nightmare.”
“May 31st is approaching – one year since Théo disappeared. We would like to thank the public for supporting us through this very difficult year,” they said.
“The generosity of strangers has blown us away and continues to help us endure this nightmare.
“We miss our son tremendously and together, we must find out what happened to him.”
Mr Hayez was 18-years-old at the time he went missing. He was last seen on CCTV at 11pm on May 31st walking away from Cheeky Monkey’s on Jonson Street.
Police said he was asked to leave by staff after showing signs of intoxication.
He was wearing a black baseball hat, hooded sweatshirt, beige pants and black Adidas shoes.
Location data gained from the teen’s Google account revealed that he headed in the opposite direction of his accommodation at the Wake Up hostel to Cosy Corner on Tallow Beach, near the famed Byron Bay lighthouse.
An extensive air, land and sea search operation, which involved multiple agencies across police, SES volunteers and surf life-saving groups failed to unearth clues as to his whereabouts.
Police called off their physical search in late June but determined locals continued to scour the area. In July a volunteer-led search party found a hat similar to the one Mr Hayez was last seen wearing in the bushland near Tallow Beach, close to where Mr Hayez’s Oppo R17 smartphone last registered with a phone tower.
The hat has been sent for DNA testing but Mr Hayez’s family are confident the hat belonged to the teen.
A family’s search for answers
Facebook users have been encouraged to use the hashtage #lookingfortheo, and either light a candle, make a mandala, or share a song in tribute to Mr Hayez.
“We know that we are not alone and every message, drawing or photo with Théo’s name holds us up and allows us to continue this journey,” his parents said.
“When you light a candle, make a mandala or think of a song, we love to know that you did that for Théo.”
Earlier this month the family announced they would be speaking less publicly about the case, so as to not jeopardise the ongoing investigation.
“We are preparing more ways to expand our call nationally and internationally to reach as many people as possible,” they wrote.
“It will soon be one year now and it is still important that you keep talking about Theo, we still believe that someone out there could help us to find out what really happened by providing us with some information about that night.”
The disappearance of Théo Hayez gained widespread attention in June 2019 after his father, Laurent Hayez, flew to Australia from Belgium to find his son.
“When I left Belgium I promised Théo’s little brother Lucas that I would bring his brother home, please help me keep my promise to him,” he said.
NSW Police told 9News.com.au that the investigation into the disappearance of Mr Hayez is continuing, ahead of a Coronial inquest that will begin later this year.
A spokesperson for the Coroner’s Court told 9News.com.au that the date for the inquest into the “disappearance and suspected death of Théo Hayez” is yet to be determined.
Anyone who has any information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or forward information anonymously to: PO Box 208 Suffolk Park, NSW 2481.