Jay Slater: Teen's mum Debbie Duncan slams online abuse as search continues in Tenerife

Debbie Duncan pictured with her son Jay Slater
-Credit: (Image: Facebook)

Jay Slater's mum, Debbie Duncan, has hit back at online trolls who have been targeting her as the search for her missing son continues.

The family has been subjected to horrific abuse on social media over the past week, including cruel taunts comparing her to Karen Matthews, who infamously orchestrated a plot to kidnap her own daughter for ransom.

Currently in Tenerife, where the search for Jay is now in its seventh day, Debbie has been unable to bring herself to visit the location where Jay was last seen in the north-west of the island.

She said: "People keep asking on social media 'why aren't I up there? ' and calling me the new Karen Matthews. I just can't face it."

Speaking from the hotel where the family are staying, Debbie added that she is still waiting for more news from the police and heard nothing fresh on Saturday, reports the Mirror.

Debbie said: "I'm just exhausted. I'm still hopeful. I'm not feeling negative just yet. I know it's five days. It's not just that they've said absolutely not. I don't know what it's been like today because I've been advised to stay away because I would just break down."

"My boy might be just up there somewhere. We're all devastated. He's just a normal boy from a little town in Lancashire. These things don't happen. I was in touch with him while he is in Tenerife. He was just holidaying away, he'd saved up and was looking forward to it. I've not slept for five days. My brain isn't functioning well and I'm tired and exhausted."

A GoFundMe page established for the family of Jay has now amassed over £28,000. Lucy Law, who was holidaying with Jay when the 19 year old vanished, has urged the public to assist the family as the search continues.

Rachel Louise Harg, the administrator of an official Facebook page created to aid in locating Jay, revealed that individuals had been "hacking" into the social media accounts of Jay's family and were "sick in the head". She highlighted on the Facebook page that the funds raised were being deposited into Jay's mum's bank account and were being utilised for accommodation and food expenses.

Close to a dozen other GoFundMe pages have been closed due to suspicions of fraudulent activity. The crowdfunding platform confirmed it had taken down several fundraisers, stating that efforts were ongoing to verify the identity of the organisers and ensure donations would reach Jay's family.

In a statement, a spokesperson expressed: "Our hearts go out to Jay Slater, his family and everyone else concerned about his disappearance. All campaigns are under review and no money will be transferred unless we can verify it goes straight to his family. At moments like this, we often see people set up campaigns to benefit strangers when they are moved to help. That is why we work with organisers to ensure any money donated goes to the right place."

"GoFundMe has a dedicated Trust and Safety team reviewing all relevant fundraisers. In addition to the team of experts, we deploy proprietary technical tools and have multiple processes in place to verify the identity of organizers and the recipient of the fundraiser. Before money is transferred, an individual or organisation's information, including their banking information, must be verified."

Karen Matthews is notorious for conspiring with loner Mick Donovan to kidnap her nine year old daughter Shannon in Dewsbury, hoping to claim a £50,000 reward for her safe return. Shannon was held captive in Donovan's dilapidated council flat for 24 days in 2008 while police officers and locals frantically searched for her.

Shannon vanished on her way home from a swimming lesson at Westmoor Primary School in Dewsbury. After one of the UK's most extensive search operations, costing West Yorkshire Police £3.2million, Shannon was found hidden under Donovan's bed in Batley Carr. Donovan and Karen Matthews were sentenced to eight years in prison in 2009.

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