Missing Jay Slater's family issue heartfelt statement on Tenerife search team

Jay Slater
-Credit: (Image: Family Handout/LBT Global/PA)

Jay Slater's family have issued a new update to those following the case, sharing a heartfelt message on the official social media page about the search for the 19-year-old from Lancashire, who has now been missing for almost three weeks.

Jay's mother, Debbie Duncan, has shared her gratitude to a local hiking group for their relentless efforts in searching for her missing son. A new post on an official Facebook page for the search for Jay stated: "Debbie and family would like to thank the local hiking group who have worked tirelessly planning routes and searching for Jay they are extremely overwhelmed with the kindness of them all."

"Thank you," added the family as they continue to reckon with the disappearance of their youngest son.

READ MORE: Follow our live blog HERE on the search for Jay

Jay, from Oswaldtwistle in Lancashire, disappeared on the Spanish island on June 17. He was last seen leaving the Airbnb at around 8am that morning.

The teenager, who was on holiday with his pals Lucy Law, 18, and Brad Hargreaves, 19, had previously been partying at the Papagayo nightclub in Playa de las Americas, before leaving the event to go back to the rented property. His last known location was the Rural de Teno Park in the north of the Canary Island – which was about an 11-hour walk back to his accommodation.

At around 8.30am on the morning of his disappearance, Jay called Lucy to say he was in the middle of nowhere, trying to get home with no water and 1 per cent on his phone battery. That was the last time anyone heard from him.

After almost two weeks of hunting for the teenager in vast and mountainous terrain, police called off the search on the ground for him. On June 30, they said officers would continue to act on any tip-offs or other information that came in but the active work that has been ongoing since the apprentice bricklayer was reported missing would cease.

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Jay's parents Warren Slater and Debbie Duncan leaving the police headquarters after spending several hours liaising with police this week -Credit:Stan Kujawa

This evening, the Independent reports that one of Jay Slater's friends has hit back at conspiracy theories circulating on social media. Brad Hargreaves was one of Jay Slater's pals who travelled out with him to Tenerife to attend the NRG music festival - and has found himself targeted by trolls on the internet sending him abuse.

Brad told his Instagram followers that those thinking he had some part to play in Jay's disappearance is 'beyond me'. He told those creating their own theories of what happened to Jay that they 'need to know the facts before talking s*** on the internet'.

Brad added that the pair have been 'mates for years, came on our first holiday together and unfortunately this has happened. We ain't drug mules or whatever...'

Earlier this week, Mark Williams-Thomas, a former British police detective who is helping Jay Slater's family in Tenerife, claimed the teenager was 'scared' when he left the Airbnb and had allegedly 'taken a Rolex' before he went missing.

The investigator said: "We've received information that would suggest that Jay left the rental property feeling scared and he would not return to the rental, even though that would have been the most sensible course of action." The former detective claimed that Jay had 'posted a Snapchat saying that he'd taken a £12,000 Rolex from a person'.

"We've been unable to validate this in terms of a reported theft", he said in the video. "However, friends of Jay said he would not make this up and the watch was subject of later conversation between the friends."

The British man who 'was at the Airbnb where missing Jay Slater visited' before he disappeared has also recently broken his silence - claiming he 'left there alive'.

Ayub Qassim has claimed he invited the 19-year-old back to the rental property in the north of Tenerife, close to the village of Masca, after a rave on the south of the island. Qassim, who reportedly booked the £40-a-night apartment under the name of Ayub Abdul, has spoken out amid wide-spread speculation into why Jay went back there and why he left with his phone on 1 per cent battery and with no water.

Qassim said he was 'doing Jay a favour' by letting him stay at the apartment - named Casa Abuela Tina. Speaking to the Mail Online, the 31-year-old said: "He came to my Airbnb alive and he left my Airbnb alive."

According to reports, Qassim was jailed nine years ago for being the mastermind behind a sophisticated operation to flood Wales with Class A drugs. Spanish Police have already spoken to him and the unnamed pal he was travelling with - though officers on the ground said the pair were 'irrelevant' to the investigation.