$500k reward offered in case of missing backpacker Theo Hayez

The family of missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez, who disappeared on a night out in Byron Bay in 2019, have spoken of their “endless and ambiguous grief” as officials offer a $500,000 reward.

The 18-year-old was last seen around 11pm on Friday May 31, 2019, outside a nightclub on Jonson Street.

It wasn’t until the following Thursday that police were called when he failed to return to his hostel and could not be contacted.


It sparked a major investigation which included extensive land, air and sea searches but he has never been found.

On Wednesday, The NSW Government and NSW Police Force revealed a massive $500,000 reward hoping it will lead to some answers.

Theo’s parents are pleading for anyone with information to come forward.

“We believe this reward one of our last opportunities to find answers about what happened to Theo,” Laurent Hayez said.

“A key person we are seeking to address is whether he was with someone on the night of May 31st, 2019, which we strongly believe to be the case.”

Theo’s mother said they just wanted an opportunity to heal.

“Not having answers means our family is unable to grieve and heal as we don’t have a conclusion,” his mother said.

“We would like to again thank the Coroner, her team and the community for supporting us throughout this endless and ambiguous grief as we continue to seek answers to what happened to Theo.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Police, Paul Toole said he is hopeful the reward will encourage anyone who is yet to provide information to police to come forward.

“Theo was a young man who had his entire life ahead of him and his family cannot rest until they know what happened to him,” Minister Toole said.

“The pain of losing a loved one is bad enough, but the mystery surrounding this case only adds to that pain.

“Police investigating this case need our help to provide that crucial piece of the puzzle that can bring some comfort to the family and friends of Theo. If you know or think of anything, no matter how small, please phone Crime Stoppers,” Minister Toole said.

Tweed/Byron Police District Acting Commander, Detective Acting Superintendent Brendon Cullen, said investigators hope this reward will bring Theo’s disappearance back to the forefront of people’s minds so detectives can provide answers to the family.

“Detectives want to ensure every avenue has been exhaustively examined and we are continuing to ask anyone who had any interaction with Theo after he left that Friday night to contact us.

“We have worked closely with Theo’s family and friends here in Australia and over in Belgium from the beginning of our investigation into his whereabouts. We all want to have answers as to what happened to him,” Det A/Supt Cullen said.