Jay Slater missing: The 6 key things we know about Tenerife disappearance - and 4 things we still don't

Jay, an apprentice bricklayer, went to the Canary Island to attend a music festival
-Credit: (Image: Instagram)


Jay Slater remains missing in Tenerife - despite a huge search operation to locate the apprentice bricklayer. The 19-year-old man was walking "alone and fast" on Monday morning, it is said, as he left an Airbnb for what is an 10-hour walk through mountainous and remote terrain to where friends were staying in the south of Tenerife.

His phone's last live location was Rural de Teno Park, the hilly nature reserve where a search operation has intensified today. Movements after around 8.30am on Monday remain a mystery, however, and Jay's mother, Debbie Duncan, on Friday (June 21) described searching for her son was "an absolute living nightmare". She flew out to Tenerife on Tuesday with her eldest son. Speaking to ITV News, Ms Duncan said: "He's the life and soul, he's a beautiful boy."

Jay, who is from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, was last seen by the owner of the Airbnb as he left the accommodation on Monday. It is thought he had missed the bus to reach friends at the south of the island, an area popular with British tourists.

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Ophelia, the owner of the accommodation, said: "It's dangerous walking around here, it's easy to lose yourself. He walked up the road when I saw him for the last time. He was alone. He was walking normally, though he was fast."

As the desperate search looks set to continue into a sixth day, the Mirror recaps the full timeline of Jay's disappearance and highlights the verified information - after friends pleaded with people on a Facebook group designed to share updates into the operation not to "speculate" with wild theories.

Emergency workers near the village of Masca search for the teenager
Emergency workers near the village of Masca search for the teenager -Credit:James Manning/PA Wire

What we know about Jay Slater's disappearance

Where is Jay Slater?

  • Jay Slater was declared missing in British media on Tuesday, after the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) confirmed the investigation. It said: "We are supporting the family of a British man who has been reported missing in Spain and are in contact with the local authorities". The FCDO continues to issue this statement to the press.

  • Ms Duncan, Jay's mother, flew to Tenerife on Tuesday to lead the search. However, she told how twisted Brits with “northern accents” had been phoning her with hidden numbers and claiming they had her son captive and were keeping him because he owed them money. The press and police authorities have yet been unable to verify if Jay has been held captive.

  • But on Wednesday, one of Jay's close friends conceded she too felt the teen had been kidnapped. She described Jay's disappearance as suspicious and became increasingly concerned when authorities switched the focus of the search from Rural de Teno Park to touristy towns in the south, like Los Cristianos, which are more than 30 miles away.

  • Police later on Wednesday said they had resumed their search in the mountains after it was believed the sighting in the south was a false lead.

  • Ms Duncan described Jay as the "life and soul" with "everyone loving his company" in a heartbreaking address on Thursday. She also told ITV News she wished she had not encouraged him to go on the holiday, during which the teenager had been to a three-day rave. The mum recalled how she was awoken by police at home in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, telling her she needs to go to Tenerife as her son had been reported missing.

  • On Friday evening, it emerged Spanish police - the Guardia Civil - declined the help of Lancashire Constabulary in the investigation. Jay is from Lancashire and while his home force said their "thoughts are with Jay's family", it added the Guardia Civil "confirmed that at this time they are satisfied that they have the resources they need".

The 4 big unanswered questions

Where is Jay Slater?

Police on the island have said they are doing everything they can to find the missing teenager, and are also working with the British Embassy. Jay's last definitive location has been traced to Rural del Teno, a mountainous area in the west of the island. The closest town is Santiago del Teide. He had been staying on the south of the island in an apartment with friends, with friend Lucy saying he was attempting to make the 11-hour hike back on foot.

Lucy had told the Manchester Evening News: "He's gone on a night out, he's gone to a friend's house, someone that he has met on holiday. One of the people he has met has hired a car out of here, so he's driven them back to his apartment and Jay has gone there not realising how far away it is. He's ended up out in the middle of nowhere. Jay was obviously thinking he would be able to get home from there."

Other than Jay's whereabouts, there are crucially several other things which remain mysteries. While family and friends in Tenerife have been posting verified updates on the "official" Facebook page designed to share communication about the search, other information - including wild theories and other speculation - has been spewed online. Ms Duncan herself expressed her frustration at this on Friday night.

Why didn't Jay wait for a bus or make other travel arrangements?

According to friend Lucy, Jay had met with other friends, one of whom drove him in his hire car to another part of the island. The teen then missed his bus back, finding himself in the rural, mountainous area as he attempted to make the journey back on foot.

It's currently not publicly clear whether Jay was near facilities to get back to where he was staying with friends, or if he was able to wait around for one to become available, catch a lift or get a taxi back to his resort.

Shortly before vanishing, Jay had been messaging friends on social media Snapchat and seemed in a normal and stable state of mind. His phone died around 8.50am, with his last known location registered near a hiking trail, several hundred feet above the small village of Masca.

What was Jay's state of mind?

It cannot be stated with total confirmation what Jay's state of mind was when he vanished. However, his mum believes it was sound. She said friends had told her this. Ms Duncan, of Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, added: "I just think it was a question of him not knowing the island well enough because it was his first time here and being a bit disorientated when it came to distances and not realising it was a 10-hour walk from where he went missing to his holiday accommodation."

"I know the last place he spoke to his friend Lucy from was in the mountains and I think the police have got a more precise location now. I imagine they're also speaking to the people whose place he went back to. Once I've spoken to the British consulate again, I'll be clearer about what I'm going to do but I imagine we will head up north nearer the spot Jay was when he disappeared."

Has Jay left the country?

Authorities are yet to confirm any intelligence to suggest either way if Jay has left Tenerife entirely - although this is highly unlikely to be the case. The nature reserve, Rural del Teno, is extremely remote and rural, and lacks the infrastructure for Jay to have reached an airport swiftly. The Airbnb rental Jay stayed at before vanishing is "miles from civilisation," according to Manchester Evening News.

Further to this, Ms Duncan has said she has Jay's passport. The mum added she wasn't expecting him to reappear and turn up for his plane home, although it is unclear when his return journey was or is scheduled.

A fundraiser set up by a friend to "get Jay Slater home" has since received more than £24,000 in donations. A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesman said: "We are supporting the family of a British man who has been reported missing in Spain and are in contact with the local authorities."