Jay Slater: Everything we know about the Briton missing in Tenerife after discovery of a body

Jay Slater went missing in Tenerife after tourist embarked on 11-hour walk

Athena Stavrou,Barney Davis
Monday 15 July 2024 16:12
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Former head of missing persons unit gives insight into search to find Jay Slater

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After four gruelling weeks, the search for missing British teenager Jay Slater appears to have come to a close on the island of Tenerife following the discovery of a body.

The 19-year-old was on his first-ever holiday without his family when he vanished as he walked back to his accommodation on the morning of June 17.

He had visited an Airbnb near the village of Masca with two people and, having missed the bus back, embarked on what would have been an 11-hour walk.

The apprentice bricklayer had not been seen or heard from since calling his friend at 8.50am to tell her he was lost, in need of water and that his phone was low on battery.

While Spanish police ended their search on the ground after 12 days, Mr Slater’s friends and family vowed to continue in the hope of finding him. On Monday human remains, which have yet to be formally identified, were found.

As the search for the teenager comes to an end, here’s everything we know about his disappearance:

Jay Slater is missing in Tenerife
Jay Slater is missing in Tenerife (Supplied)

Where is his last known location?

Jay Slater, from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, was last heard from on Monday, 17 June, as he told a friend he planned to walk back to his accommodation after missing a bus, a journey expected to take around 11 hours on foot.

He had travelled to the tourist hotspot with friends to attend the music festival in Playa de Las Americas in what was his first holiday without his family.

On Sunday, his friend Lucy Law told Manchester Evening News that she had left the festival early, with Jay staying on and going to a nightclub in Playa de las Americas.

He later travelled to an Airbnb in the remote Masca valley with two men, one of them known to be Briton Ayub Qassim, but left their accommodation at around 8am to travel home.

Mr Slater was last seen by a cafe owner, who said the teenager had asked her about bus times before deciding not to wait two hours for a service. She then saw him walk out of the village.

Ms Law was the last to hear from the teenager when he called her at 8.50am on Monday, alerting her that he was lost, had injured his leg, needed water and that his phone was on one per cent battery. He also phoned his friend Brad Hargreaves, who heard him “sliding” over gravel which indicated he had left the main road.

Jay Slater in social media photo posted by friend days before his disappearance
Jay Slater in social media photo posted by friend days before his disappearance (Supplied)

Ms Law told the MEN that one of the people Mr Slater had met had driven them back to his apartment in a hire car and the missing man had not realised how far away it was.

“He’s ended up out in the middle of nowhere. Jay was obviously thinking he would be able to get home from there,” she said.

“But then in the morning he’s set off walking, using his maps on his phone and ended up in the middle of mountains with nothing around.”

Mr Slater’s phone then cut off, with his last location showing just off a path in the Rural de Teno park – a mountainous area popular with hikers in the north of the island.

When Jay Slater’s phone cut off, his last location showed as the Rural de Teno park – a mountainous area popular with hikers (Alamy/PA)
When Jay Slater’s phone cut off, his last location showed as the Rural de Teno park – a mountainous area popular with hikers (Alamy/PA)

Where have authorities been searching?

A specialist mountain rescue team, including a police helicopter and sniffer dogs, were all deployed to look for Mr Slater.

Search teams had narrowed their efforts on small buildings close to where his phone last pinged, while officers were seen at the AirBnb and in the next valley.

A member of a search and rescue team search near the last known location of Jay Slater
A member of a search and rescue team search near the last known location of Jay Slater (James Manning/PA Wire)

Andrew Knight, known on YouTube as the Knightrider, who joined the search told The Independent of the climate in Tenerife“It’s rugged mountainsides, loose rocks that fall away underfoot, cactuses everywhere. It’s a disorienting landscape and also has extreme weather changes.

“At night the temperature drops to around 12 degrees Celsius, but with the wind chill and the thin air at altitude, it feels around 10 degrees.

“In the sunshine, it can go up to 28 degrees. It also can be quite damp, it rained a little when I was there. It has its own microclimate that changes by the hour.”

After authorities stopped their search, Jay’s father and brother were seen continuing to scour the valley his phone was last located to and searching in nearby mountain villages.

A specialist mountain rescue team, including a police helicopter, has been deployed to look for Jay
A specialist mountain rescue team, including a police helicopter, has been deployed to look for Jay (Victoria Roocroft/BBC)

Have they found him?

Spanish police said on Monday 15 July that human remains had been found in the area where Mr Slater went missing.

The Civil Guard said the evidence strongly suggested the remains were those of the 19-year-old, with DNA tests to be carried out to establish the person’s identity, along with an autopsy to uncover the cause of their death.

A Spanish police spokesperson said: “All indications are that it could be the young British man who had been missing for 29 days.

“He could have died due to an accidental fall on the steep and inaccessible area where he has been found. We are awaiting the results of the autopsy to confirm that it is about an accident.”

What have his friends and family said?

Jay’s family are yet to speak out about the body found in the search for Mr Slater - but they have expressed their immense concern throughout the search.

Following his disappearance, a GoFundMe was set up to help assist with the search and to pay for his family and friends to remain in Tenerife.

In an emotional interview near the search site, his father Warren Slater told reporters he just wanted his son back, while he was also seen sticking posters to nearby bus stops and buildings.

Mr Slater pictured with his mother, Debbie Duncan
Mr Slater pictured with his mother, Debbie Duncan (Supplied)

After 12 days of searching, the Guardia Civil announced that they were standing down their operation, just one day after they issued a mass appeal for volunteers.

In a statement issued through the British overseas missing persons charity LBT Global, Debbie Duncan said the land search for her son has been called off, but thanked the Guardia Civil who she said had “worked tirelessly up in the mountains where Jay’s last phone call was traced”.

His mother’s statement said: “We are a very close family and are absolutely devastated about his disappearance.

“Words cannot describe the pain and agony we are experiencing. He is our beautiful boy with his whole life ahead of him and we just want to find him.”

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