Jay Slater: Major update from police on people last seen with missing British teenager

The Tenerife police officer leading the mountain search for Jay Slater has described how the two British men who put the teenager up the night before he disappeared were "of no relevance" to the investigation. Cipriano Martin, head of the Civil Guard’s mountain rescue unit, spoke as the search for the 19-year-old entered its twelfth day.

He told the Mirror: "Those men have been spoken to and they don’t have any relevance whatsoever for the case. All week [Jay's family] have been participating because we’ve seen them and they’ve seen us in several places. They’ve been actively participating.”

Saturday's search operation began at Hilda viewpoint, close to the spot where Jay's phone last 'pinged'. Around 30 professionals, including police, fire and mountain rescue officers, are involved in the effort, as well as six volunteers. The search will take in eight kilometres in one direction and four in the other. For the latest Welsh news delivered to your inbox sign up to our newsletter

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Mr Martin said: “The operation is going to consist of a search with the people that have come here today, in a thorough manner, because at the height we are, we need to progress by ruling out areas and make sure that the areas we search, with the work we have done this week, are looked at well and can be ruled out. And of course that’s going to be done based on the information we have, and that information is his last-known position... Until we know something we can’t focus on any hypothesis and we work with several possibilities.”

The officer continued: “Masca’s been looked at, the Juan Lopez ravine, the Retamar ravine, Las Aneas ravine, Los Carrizales ravine, in all the areas we know he’s been in because his mobile phone coverage is undeniable and places him there. But we have a difficulty which is that once the phone goes off the antennae stop picking it up, so that while he's walking, and we don’t know how long he was walking for, no phone mast is going to detect it, and as the technicians tell us, they look for mobiles and not people, so we’re at that point as well, that we have certain information and we have to go on that.”

The search team looking for Jay Slater in Tenerife
The search team looking for Jay Slater -Credit:Stan Kujawa

Asked if the principal information they had to go on was the last place Jay’s phone ‘pinged’ from, he replied: “That’s right. We can't come up with too many conjectures either. The clues are based on the information we have. Another of the things that leads us to consider that hypothesis is when he rings his friend Lucy and says he’s cut himself on a cactus and he’s worried because he doesn’t know whether it’s poisonous or not, and she tells him not to worry that it’s not poisonous. But for that to happen, you have to leave the road because you’re not going to cut yourself on a cactus being on the road and he’s had to go into the mountains obviously.”

Mr Martin added that someone saw Jay on the day he disappeared. “Yes, he was seen, the morning he disappeared, around 8.10am, he was seen very near the spot we’re at now, heading up to the look-out point, and later his telephone places him here, and after that the phone location he shares places him here.

“We’re going to widen our search in areas we’ve already looked out, taking advantage of the fact there are more people today and we can make a thorough search. We’ve got a drone as well, but what it’s principally about is a search where one person is in sight of the other, so that we don’t miss anything in between. In a certain way we’re going to see more than with the drone, because although the drone offers an aerial view, we’re going to be seeing everything we’ve got beside us, and the instructions are that those searching don’t lose sight of the other person so no areas will be missed out in the search.”

"There are particular areas that are difficult and people searching obviously have been told not to take unnecessary risks but there’s of course something that’s very clear, which is that the areas we can’t get into, Jay wouldn’t have accessed either. You have to think logically. If I see I’ve got large cactuses and bramble in front of me and I’m going to hurt myself and I’m not going to get through, he wouldn’t have done it either. It’s common sense."

Asked if via those areas you could reach the sea directly, Mr Martin said: “Yes, you can get directly to the sea. In fact last Saturday I did the whole path that goes down the Juan Lopez ravine because there are very old footpaths that are used very seldomly because they’re not of much interest to sports enthusiasts, but you can reach the beach. I reached the beach. We didn’t see anything, but it’s a route that you do via a path not via the ravine. Following the ravine itself, it’s not practical because there are parts where you need a rope to lower yourself down and we know Jay is not going to do that because he’s not equipped for it."