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Missing Belgian backpacker key theories

Greta StonehouseAAP
The inquest into 18-year-old Theo Hayez has scrutinised nearly two weeks of evidence.
Camera IconThe inquest into 18-year-old Theo Hayez has scrutinised nearly two weeks of evidence. Credit: AAP

THEORIES BEHIND BELGIAN BACKPACKER'S DISAPPEARANCE

The inquest into 18-year-old Theo Hayez has scrutinised nearly two weeks of evidence from the last people to see him alive in Byron Bay on May 31, 2019, after Google data showed he searched for his hostel but walked in the opposite direction.

KEY THEORIES

* That Theo was drunk, became confused and disorientated after being ejected from Cheeky Monkey's bar at 11pm and took risky steps trying to find his way to the famous Cape Byron Lighthouse.

* He loitered near cricket nets for seven minutes, and this could indicate he was with an unidentified person with the intention to go to an unknown beach party at Cosy Corner.

* Someone else was using his phone following his final messages to family just after 1am on June 1.

* At some point he tried to climb cliffs at Cosy Corner beach, fell and was swept out to sea.

* Detective Senior Constable Philip Parker said no evidence shed light on foul play, but he was asked about homeless people's camps he passed and some that were not spoken to.

WITNESS ASSESSMENTS

* Fellow Brussels-born Antoine Van Laethem "clicked" with Theo at the Wake Up! hostel, and said he "struck me as someone who is open-minded and can speak easily to people".

* He recalled Theo was ready to leave Australia and was "pretty excited to go back home to meet his friends," and begin his engineering degree in September.

* Mr Laethem did not find Theo drunk or tipsy

* Dutch man Alexander Stadegaard spoke with Theo about politics and noticed nothing to make him think he was inebriated.

* Neither did German woman Annika Wachter who told the inquest "no one was really drunk".

* Security guard Shannon Mackie who ejected him from the bar said Theo seemed like he was losing his co-ordination and swaying a little bit, but had been erring on the side of caution.

INVESTIGATION ISSUES

* Belgian investigators were a step ahead of Australia's efforts in building a relationship with Google to source critical data, the court was told.

* Australian officers did begin contact with their European counterparts, with initially fantastic results, but a decision was made by NSW police not to share some documentary evidence limiting the joint investigation, according to the family.

* Belgian authorities investigated "geo-fencing" data that examined five key locations on Theo's route but found no Android phones within reach. This could not include Apple phones.

* An OPPO phone - similar to Theo's - was later found to be dropped three months after he disappeared, near where he vanished, by a woman who said she attended a beach party close by. Those inquiries are continuing.

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