Missing Jay Slater: A four-week mystery, a desperate family and the questions that remain unanswered

Jay's parents Debbie and Warren leaving the Guardia Civil headquarters
-Credit: (Image: Stan Kujawa)


As the search for missing teenager Jay Slater continues into its fourth week, the 19-year-old's heartbroken family are still left without answers.

With official searches called off and his friends now starting to fly back home, the fight for closure by Jay's loved ones is far from over. Leads have so far proved fruitless; but Spanish police have insisted they are not giving up hope of finding him.

After major searches through the treacherous landscape of Masca and the Rural de Teno park, countless desperate appeals for information and offers of help from former detectives and mountaineering experts, the disappearance of Jay, from Lancashire, remains a mystery more than three weeks on.

READ MORE Mayor flies to Tenerife to help Jay Slater's family in search for teenager as disappearance remains a mystery

The 19-year-old vanished on June 17 after partying with his friends in the Playa de las Americas resort. He had travelled back to a remote Airbnb in Masca, around an hour's drive away, before reportedly walking off alone. He hasn't been seen since.

What followed was almost two weeks of hunting, involving mountain rescue teams, the Civil Guard, Civil Defence and fire crews, and countless resources including specialist sniffer dogs from Madrid and helicopters.

Jay's family and friends were simultaneously making their own desperate enquiries, putting up posters in nearby villages and sharing information about a possible - but unconfirmed - sighting of the teenager in the village of Santiago del Teide on the evening of June 17.

A public Facebook group, now with over 600,000 members, kept people regularly updated with the investigations' process. But with the case capturing the eyes of the world, it also welcomed social media sleuths and trolls who have relentlessly thrown abuse in the direction of Jay's family.

Now in its gruelling fourth week, Jay's parents have remained defiant in their efforts to find him. Amid the media noise, his dad Warren and older brother Zak have been seen regularly visiting the area where Jay was last seen, conducting their own searches with the help of a small team.

On Tuesday (July 9) police insisted that several lines of enquiry were still being pursued. A source close to the case insisted investigators were not working on the basis Jay was 'missing feared dead' and that 'several lines of inquiry are being pursued.'

The new statement came as members of Jay's friends and family were thought to have begun flying back home to the U.K. But for Jay's parents Warren and Debbie, who are still over 2,000 miles from home, life remains to be anything but normal.

Yesterday, Jay's dad Warren blasted two 'wild goose chases' as he widened his personal search for the missing teenager. Warren was joined by Jay's brother Zak in a gruelling search of Tenerife's rugged valleys to where the 19-year-old was last seen. He voiced frustration with the challenging landscape, saying it would take an army 10 years to search all of the mountainous terrain.

Over the weekend, the small search party spent a morning scouring mountains in the Los Carrizales Valley before heading back into the hills. They have moved on from the Valley of Barranco de Juan Lopez, close to the village of Masca, where Jay’s phone last pinged.

Jay's father Warren and brother Zak continue in their search
Jay vanished on June 17

Warren continued to voice his frustration at the local police investigation, calling for British cops to get involved and help the family.

He said: "We need to, as a full family, do a proper press conference and ask the British authorities to help. He’s a British citizen. Get Interpol involved.

"It’s just us. I haven’t got a team. We need a team to come over here and find out for us what the police are doing and what we need to do. Our hands are tied over here, we need experts. How long can you stay here for?"

Jay's uncle Glen Duncan also called described nephew's disappearance as 'suspicious', as he questioned the efforts of the Spanish police, saying: "I feel like marching down there myself and bursting into the police station."

That frustration was also shared by Paul Arnott, a British climber who also selflessly flew out to Tenerife to help with the search. In the final 'massive search', organised the day before it was called off, he branded it a 'PR stunt' and said 'nobody was doing anything'.

The MailOnline reported that Jay's friends Lucy Mae Law and Brad Hargreaves, along with his uncle Glen Duncan, have since flown back home to the U.K.

The last signal from Jay's phone came from somewhere in the mountainous region near the village of Masca, which became the focus of the Spanish police's search before it was officially called off. Now, only Jay's family and a handful of volunteers remain searching for the teenager on the island.

A search was organised on July 6
Jay Slater's dad Warren Slater and brother Zak on the mountain track where Jay's phone last pinged

One of them is a mayor from Essex, Shane Yerrell. Last weekend, he spent two days searching the area where the 19-year-old was last seen. Shane, who is mayor of Waltham Abbey in Essex and has previously climbed Kilimanjaro and Mount Olympus, said: "They're just living on hope. It's awful - they've got no answers. They don't know whether Jay is alive or dead.

"They are doing everything to find him. They're not just out for an hour, they're out all day 9.30am until 6pm. We covered miles, but there's still a lot of ground to cover.

"I feel for all of them, his dad in particular. I'm a parent and my child is only a few years younger than Jay. The whole thing is heartbreaking not having any answers. They just don't know."