Jay Slater search: Six things we know about missing teen in Tenerife - and four unanswered questions

The desperate search for Jay Slater continues
-Credit: (Image: No credit)

Jay Slater, the 19-year-old apprentice bricklayer who went missing in Tenerife, has yet to be found despite extensive search efforts.

He was last seen walking "alone and fast" on Monday morning as he departed an Airbnb for what is a 10-hour trek through rugged, isolated terrain towards his friends' location in the south of the island. The final known location of his phone was at Rural de Teno Park, a mountainous nature reserve where search teams have ramped up their efforts today.

His movements after approximately 8.30am on Monday are unknown, and Jay's mother, Debbie Duncan, has expressed her anguish, calling the search for her son "an absolute living nightmare". She arrived in Tenerife on Tuesday with her eldest son and told ITV News: "He's the life and soul, he's a beautiful boy."

Jay, hailing from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, was observed by the Airbnb owner leaving the property on Monday. It is believed he may have missed the bus to the southern part of the island, which is frequented by British holidaymakers, reports the Mirror.

Ophelia, the proprietor of the Airbnb, commented: "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."

In a new development on Saturday, Jay's mum disclosed that there has been a potential sighting of Jay on Monday - although it remains unconfirmed. Debbie reported: "Someone has come forward to say they saw someone who they thought was Jay walking back down the road sat on a bench."

"He was with two men looking a bit worse for wear, and they were by a church, this guy has come forward and told the police about it and they are looking into it. We don't know if it was Jay for sure, but it's a start. They said it was about 6pm which is ten hours after he was seen by the lady in the village. But if it was him what was he doing there and who are these two men? ".

As the frantic search enters its sixth day, the Mirror provides a comprehensive timeline of Jay's disappearance and emphasises the confirmed information - following pleas from friends on a Facebook group created to share updates on the search not to "speculate" with unfounded theories.

What we know about Jay Slater's disappearance

  • Jay Slater was declared missing in British media on Tuesday, after the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) confirmed the investigation. It told us: "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.

  • 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.

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."

Go here for more what's on updates, news and reviews from around Teesside