Jay Slater's dad breaks silence as he says 'you don't just disappear'

Teno Rural Park , near Masca, Tenerife.  The search for missing Brit  Jay Slater. His dad Warren and brother Zak join the search party in the search area in the valley below La Cruz de Hilda viewpoint.
-Credit: (Image: Simon Ashton)

The distraught family of missing British teen Jay Slater are still in Tenerife, tirelessly searching for him, despite the police discontinuing their land search over the weekend. On Wednesday, images emerged of the 19-year-old's heartbroken father Warren, 58, and older brother Zak, 24, combing through the island as they persist in their quest for answers regarding his disappearance.

Jay, hailing from Lancashire, vanished on the Spanish island on June 17. His last sighting was as he left an Airbnb in the north of the island, near the village of Masca, at around 8am that day. The teenager, who was vacationing with his friends, Lucy Law, 18, and Brad Hargreaves, 19, had earlier been partying at the Papagayo nightclub in Playa de las Americas, before departing the venue with two British men to return to the rented accommodation.

His last known whereabouts was the Rural de Teno Park in the north of the Canary Island, a location roughly an 11-hour walk back to his lodgings, reports the Manchester Evening News. At approximately 8.30am on the morning he went missing, Jay phoned Lucy to inform her he was stranded in an unknown location, attempting to find his way home without water and with only 1 per cent battery remaining on his phone. For the latest Welsh news delivered to your inbox sign up to our newsletter

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That was the final contact anyone had with him. After nearly two weeks of scouring the expansive and mountainous terrain for the teenager, the police suspended their ground search for him. On June 30, it was announced that while police would continue to respond to any new information received, the intensive search efforts for the missing apprentice bricklayer would be scaled back.

Warren, after a gruelling two-hour trek through the ravine where his son Jay's mobile phone last signalled its location 16 days prior, expressed his confusion and concern. In a heartfelt statement, Warren shared his disbelief at the situation, saying: "You just don't disappear. It's just ridiculous that somebody can just disappear. He's a young boy, he's fit. He's fitter than us all put together. He's played football all his life, he's fit as a flea. You just don't disappear. I don't know... it's just a mystery... it's baffling."

Jay Slater, 19, from Lancashire, disappeared on the Spanish island of Tenerife on June 17
Jay Slater, 19, from Lancashire, disappeared on the Spanish island of Tenerife on June 17 -Credit:Family Handout/LBT Global/PA

Warren's emotional comments came shortly after reports surfaced that Jay felt frightened when leaving a secluded holiday home in Masca, which is located 20 miles from where he was staying, and allegedly confided in friends that he was unable to go back there, according to the Mirror.

Spanish authorities have indicated that the two British men, who reportedly had interactions with the police before departing the island, are not connected to the case of the missing person.

Warren added: "I've gone past the sadness bit and I'm angry, if that makes any sense. I'm angry that nothing's happened. If I left you here and then you just disappeared, do you not think police would be on my case? ".

While standing with his older son Zak and one of Jay's uncles, overlooking the deep gorge, Warren shared: "We've been all the way down. We've walked as far as you can until it's too dangerous. All I'm doing is a Colombo bit myself. I mean he might be on here, you never know, but as a dad I don't want him to be."

Previously, Warren had mentioned that searching the ravine themselves wasn't wise due to the danger involved. However, with the official search concluded, he felt compelled to navigate the perilous landscape with his family. In doing so, he sustained injuries to his arms and legs from the hazardous trek.

The area where searches were carried out for Jay
The area where searches were carried out for Jay -Credit:Stan Kujawa
People search area
The search for Jay Slater -Credit:Stan Kujawa

When discussing the location where his son's phone was last active, he said: "This is where his phone last pinged. This was the valley and I've come to the point of no return. We followed the path all the way down the valley. If I had mountain boots on and some ropes I would go for it, but I can't do it in Adidas sandals."

However, pointing to a large mountain peak in the distance, he added: "If someone told me 'he's up that hill and you'll find him', I'd climb that f****** hill and find him." When asked if the family still planned to stay in Tenerife until Jay was found, he said: "I know his mum wants to, maybe his brother wants to, but you can't stay forever. His mum is saying 'he's not been found, I'm not leaving this island'. But it's hard, it's so f*****g hard. There's not a straight line to follow."

Regarding the police investigation, Warren said: "The police here are doing their own investigations. They're not really telling us anything, they're not telling you lot anything, we're in the dark. They know best. Do you think they should be still searching?" He added: "If it was in England I'd be making a stink, but we're in a foreign country and we've just got to leave it to people who know best."

When asked if he thought Jay might have been heading towards the sea, which was visible in the distance, he responded: "Maybe". He added: "I've done this trail now twice. Every step I've took there's been an opening. If you land on one of those cactus, you're not moving. Surely somebody's gonna find you after two weeks."

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Speaking about the area below him, he said: "It's hundreds of square feet of this little bushy stuff. You can't explain this to somebody unless they see it. You can take a photograph or film it, but until you're here". Warren has spoken out following revelations from a former British police detective, now working for the family, who claimed that Jay was frightened when he departed from the holiday rental where he was last seen.

Mark Williams-Thomas, a detective turned television investigator known for his work on high-profile missing persons cases, shared insights on Wednesday morning regarding the apprentice bricklayer's last confirmed whereabouts. Moreover, Williams-Thomas disclosed that 19-year-old Jay expressed an inability to return to the property, which was observed being inspected by two Spanish police officers donning forensic-style blue shoe covers on Tuesday morning.

Ex-detective Mark Williams-Thomas
Ex-detective Mark Williams-Thomas issued an update -Credit:Stan Kujawa

Mr Williams-Thomas, aged 54, said: "We have received information that would suggest Jay left the rental property feeling scared and that he would not return to the rental, even though that would have been the most sensible course of action, and also where he could have charged his phone and got water."

He further added: "He was told to go back to the rental. He said he could not do that and that he had already been walking 30 minutes and that he was now off the road and walking on a track, where there were loose stones." Casting fresh light on Jay's state of mind just before his disappearance, Mr Williams-Thomas also claimed that during a car ride to the property, Jay uploaded a video on social media where he bragged about stealing a Rolex watch.

In a video statement released today on social media, Mr Williams-Thomas said: "On route Jay posted a Snapchat saying that they had taken a £12,000 Rolex from a person. We have been unable to validate this in terms of a reported theft. However, friends of Jay said he would not make this up and the watch was the subject of a later conversation between them."

On Wednesday, Jay Slater's mother shared an update on the ongoing search for her son, detailing how the remaining funds collected by the GoFundMe page set up after his vanishing would be used. Debbie Duncan, 55, echoed her previous comments made on Tuesday, July 2, while keeping those closely following the search efforts informed. Writing on the GoFundMe page, which has amassed nearly £50,000, she explained that the money would support local volunteers and mountain rescue teams, and also help equip British searchers who have travelled to Tenerife.

In her statement, Debbie said: "As I said in my official statement, the Spanish police conducted a land search for 12 days which involved every resource they had available. Although the land search ended, the Spanish police still continue with their investigations into why Jay had travelled to the location so far away from his accommodation."

She added: "The remaining funds will continue to be used to support the rescue teams who are tirelessly searching for Jay as well as our own expenses as we remain in Tenerife looking for our boy." Addressing the backlash the family had faced regarding their intention to use a portion of the nearly £50,000 GoFundMe donations, Warren explained: "We just want to pay for our hotel, we don't want to do anything."