A backpacker who saw Belgian teenager Theo Hayez the night he disappeared has taken aim at the WakeUp! hostel for their delay in reporting the 18-year-old missing.
According to ABC News, Antoine Van Laethem, also a Belgian national, appeared in CCTV footage with Theo the night of May 31 as they partied together in Byron Bay.
Antoine told the ABC that he believes the hostel, where he was also staying, should have alerted authorities as soon as Theo failed to check out on his June 3 checkout date, instead of 3 days later on June 6.
“If someone doesn’t check out after one day maybe you should ask yourselves some questions,” Antoine told ABC News.
The delay draws some parallels with the 2008 death of Australian tourist Britt Lapthorne, who was killed after a night out in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The hostel where she had been staying failed to report her missing for several days, despite the urgings of her fellow guests.
Theo hasn’t been seen since he was captured by CCTV footage walking back to WakeUp! alone at 11.17pm on May 31 after a night out at the Cheeky Monkey bar.
Extensive searches of land and air in the Byron Bay area have been conducted, and today police have focused their search in the Cape Byron Lighthouse area.
Theo’s father travelled to Australia from Belgium this week and made an emotional plea for anyone with information to come forward, as well as imploring WhatsApp to help police access Theo’s messages from the night he disappeared.