Jay Slater's family make devastating Madeleine McCann comment as they launch fresh search

Jay Slater's brother and father are searching for the missing 19-year-old following the end of a police-led search
-Credit: (Image: No credit)

The family of Jay Slater say they are "holding on to hope" for the teenager's return as they launched a further search today (July 6).

His father, Warren, and his brother Zak joined a band of 10 volunteers, who combed over the mountainous terrain in Tenerife where the 19-year-old disappeared. The group endured several hours under a scorching 25C temperature as they searched the valley close to the village of Masca.

Glen Duncan, the teenager's uncle, also participated in the hunt for the youngster, who has been missing for nearly three weeks now. Labelling every passing day as "just torture", he revealed their desperate wait for any news.

READ MORE: Missing Jay Slater in Tenerife LIVE updates as chilling new theory emerges and mum issues new statement

He said: "We've just been out with some Spanish volunteers. They've been through it by foot and the dogs, there's obviously been areas searched by helicopter and drones. For me, he's not up here. That's what I get the impression of."

Mr Duncan pointed out their limited contact with the local authorities: "Who knows what the police are doing out here, who knows? They're not really in touch, it's all a bit sketchy. They don't give anything away. I was close to Jay. He was just a typical, great young lad with a massive circle of friends who loved the good time. He was looking forward to coming here. First lads holiday, we've all been there, haven't we?" reports the Mirror.

Jay’s father Warren Slater and brother Zak continue to  search themselves despite police calling off their official search at the weekend
Dad Warren Slater and brother Zak continue to search for Jay -Credit:Stan Kujawa

"We're still holding onto hope - we have to because we don't know. He's not been found so you've got to cling on. I'm sure Madeleine McCann's parents still cling onto that hope, that she's somewhere on the other side of the world 20 years later. She's never been found and there's no proof of whatever has happened to her. It's so treacherous down there. Look at the state of me. I'm not a climber, I'm not a hiker.

"It's so easy to get lost down there. There was a group of us and you can't see anybody. It got to a point where I wasn't even looking for my nephew, I was just trying to find my own way out to safety. If he has wandered off I just can't see how he would wander all the way down there. When you're lost you stick to a path. I don't know if he was afraid of someone or something."

Speaking about the online trolls spreading sick rumours, Mr Duncan said: "I'm not on social media or anything so I can just block it out. It's the world we live in. If he's gone on a trail like a path like this and he's got lost there or fallen down I think he would have been found by now. I've been thinking third party involvement from the start. There's just some things that have already been out there. Why would two lads hire a villa up here? They're down on the strip, you know what it's like down there.

"There's millions of apartments and hotels down there in Los Cristianos and Las Americas. Straight away, that's just suspicious in itself. Then apparently one who has been found came out and said he arrived alive and left alive. That line in itself is suspicious. The fact he has come out and said all his mates have left him and he had nowhere to go, he was 10 minutes from his apartment in Los Cristianos. He's not stupid. If he didn't have a room key he could have gone to reception for a replacement.

"I don't know what the police are taking seriously. I don't know if they're following up every single lead. I feel like marching down there myself and bursting into the police station. What are they actually doing now, the police, I mean they're not searching with the helicopter are they? Are they doing door to door inquiries or sitting there looking at CCTV images?"

Mr Duncan also questioned why the two Airbnb men were ruled irrelevant by Spanish cops so early on: "It baffled me from day one. How can you say they have no relevance when they are two of the last people to see him alive. It doesn't make sense. I can't get my head around it. It's like if one of you guys going missing now and letting the rest of you fly home and say we're not bothered about it. It's a massive let down. It's one of them too - you don't want to give them a hammering. I can't step on their toes.

"We need to keep good relations. That's why it's just so awkward I want to keep it out there. There's 10 of us out today. I don't know how long we're going to be out here for. How long's a piece of string? Debbie and Warren won't be going anywhere."

Mr Duncan added: "Jay was a typical 19 year old lad, so family oriented. He was great with my two daughters which a lot of 19 year olds aren't. A lot of 19 year old lads shy away from children."

"It's just torture every day. It's got to a point now where the sadness has gone and it's just anger."

Mr Duncan also mentioned that there has been scant recent contact with Jay's friend Lucy Law - the last person known to have spoken to him. Rachel Hargreaves, a weary family friend, shared: "We're just looking for him, we can't find him, we can't find him. I'm here supporting the family, trying to find Jay the best we can."

Apprentice bricklayer Jay, hailing from Oswaldtwistle, Lancs, vanished on the Spanish island on June 17. His last known sighting was as he left an Airbnb near the village of Masca at about 8am.

The young man, who was vacationing with friends Lucy, aged 18, and Brad Hargreaves, 19, had earlier been enjoying himself at the Papagayo nightclub in Playa de las Americas. After the party, he departed with two British men to return to their accommodation.

In efforts to support Jay's family in their search, a GoFundMe page has been established and has since surpassed £50,000.

Jay's friend Brad has fiercely denied rumours circulating online, insisting "we ain't drug mules". The trio, including Jay and Lucy, travelled to the island for a three-day NRG music festival.

Brad took to Instagram to defend their innocence: "Thinkin' I'm involved in it all is beyond me. We've been mates for years, came on our first holiday together and unfortunately this has happened. We ain't drug mules or whatever.... people need to know the facts before talking s*** on the internet."

Lucy, who was the last person known to have spoken with Jay before his disappearance on June 17, posted an emotional tribute featuring a photo of them together, accompanied by a crying emoji. The Airbnb where Jay was last seen was being let by Ayub Qassim, a convicted drug dealer.

Qassim has stated: "I let the geezer stay at mine because he had nowhere else to go. His friends had all left him. I know Jay, through friends, I'm not going to bring someone back to mine if I don't know them. I'm doing the geezer a favour and now my face is all over the news. It's a bit mental. I haven't even done anything."

Qassim also remarked: "The only comment I have to make is that Jay came to the house alive, and he left the house alive."

Despite extensive efforts, the search conducted by Spanish authorities concluded last weekend after 14 days.