Seven things we learned today as volunteers joined the search for missing Jay Slater

-Credit: (Image: Stan Kujawa)
-Credit: (Image: Stan Kujawa)

The thirteenth day of searching for missing teenager Jay Slater drew to a close as the mission on foot was called off this evening (Saturday, June 29).

More hours of searching through thick undergrowth, more hours in the baking sun, and more hours without any clues on where the 19-year-old is. It’s been yet another unimaginable day for Jay’s family, as no further evidence appears to have emerged that might help locate their youngest.

Today saw a new, 'massive search' for Jay after the Civil Guard sent out a call to arms to urge all emergency services and experienced hikers and mountaineers to join police as they hunt for the teenager. But as emergency services and expert volunteers returned home from the searches, there are some vital lessons that they, and Jay’s family, have shared almost two weeks on from Jay’s disappearance.

READ MORE: Jay Slater's dad send emotional message to online trolls as he visits search site

‘Online trollers have no idea how difficult this is’

Perhaps the most important lesson from today comes from those closest to Jay, his beloved family who have had a nightmarish fortnight desperately hoping Jay will be found. Today, Jay’s dad Warren Slater, 58, and his son Zak, 24, visited the search site this afternoon – with mum Debbie and a number of Jay’s friends and family having flown to the island as well in the past two weeks.

Visibly emotional, Warren’s dad spoke out today, hitting back at frustrating online trolls about just how difficult the 30km search area is to navigate: “It’s a bit disappointing that there are no British apart from Paul but I suppose to them he’s just a British lad who’s come out here and got drunk. I’m grateful to those who have come out here because you can see just how dangerous it is and what gets me is the trollers who are having a go at us for not searching.

“It’s not the local park, these are big mountains, the terrain is dangerous, put yourself in our position would you go out in these conditions? It’s tough, it’s hard, we are leaving it to the professionals and I’m grateful for those who have turned out today and I want to thank them for what they are doing.

Dad Warren (right) visiting the search site today -Credit:Stan Kujawa
Dad Warren (right) visiting the search site today -Credit:Stan Kujawa

Warren added: “We just still can’t believe it; it’s been so tough on us, and I want people to think about us as parents and what we are going through. All those trollers having a go at us, they don’t know how we feel, why don’t they come up here and have a look and see for themselves how dangerous it is.

“I’ve come up here now myself because I wanted to have a look about with Warren and to thank those who are up here and have given their time. I just didn’t think this would go on for so long, I dropped his mum and brother off at the airport and thought they would be back in a few days.

“I just thought he’s gone out had a drink and ended up at some girl’s place as we all did when we were younger, he’s our youngest I just want him home.”

‘We need to start ruling out areas’

Search teams have said that they now need to start closing down parts of ‘immense’ 30km search area. Thirteen days into the search, some areas have been thoroughly looked at.

“The plan will consist of carrying out a search with the people that have gathered here today, a thorough search, because at the stage we’re at, we need to start ruling areas out, and need to be sure that the area we’re searching - even though you may have already done a lot of work in the last few days - is looked at really thoroughly, and then can be ruled out,” said Cipriano Martin, chief of the mountain rescue team of the Guardia Civil, said this morning.

“It’s going to be - obviously - based off of the evidence that we have. And the evidence that we have is: his last position, the conversations he had that last day [before he disappeared], and we will centre the search around this area.”

There are various lines of enquiry being looked into

The Civil Guard leader added: “While we still don’t know, we’re not going to posit any theories. Various lines (of enquiry) are being worked on.

“We have searched the Masca area, the Barranco de San Lopez area and the Barranco Retamar, Barranco de las Aneas, Barranco de Carrizales, we have searched the whole area.”

Tracing phones is only of limited help

The chief of the mountain rescue search team told of how using the traces of Jay’s phone, last tracked near the Hilda viewpoint area near to the Airbnb where he had been staying, just above the town of Masca, is only so much use. “We know to a certain science that he was here because the coverage of his phone its undeniable that he was around this point,” he said. “And that’s where we have difficulties, because once you turn off your phone, it can no longer be traced. So while he was walking - and we don’t know how long he could have walked for - with his phone switched off, no antenna is going to pick that up. And the technology we have - it traces phones, but not people. We have certain clues, and we have to stick to those.”

We know that Jay was not walking along the main road

The Civil Guard leader was asked whether the force knows for certain that he started from a high point in Mirador, walking down to the bottom of the ravine. Mr Martin said: “Effectively yes. Another thing that leads us to that conclusion is that when he was on the phone to Lucy, he got caught by a cactus and he was worried that they might be poisonous - she said, don’t worry, it won’t be poisonous - but for that, he had to have left the main road.

“If you were walking along the main road you wouldn’t get pricked by a cactus. To do that, you would have had to have left the main road and be half way up the mountain.”

Some areas are just too difficult to touch

“There are rocky outcrops that are impassable - that you can only pass with a harness and ropes,” warned Mr Martin. “I think that the people doing the search today will turn back at these points because they aren’t carrying the equipment for that - only for walking, which in any case is the most that Jay could have done - just walk.”

And the two English men that Jay had stayed with at the Airbnb the night before he went missing have ‘no relevance’ to the search

The leader of the mountainside search for missing Jay Slater has said the two British men who were with Jay Slater at a rural Airbnb rental the night before he went missing are of 'no relevance' to the police investigation.

The leader of today’s searches told the press: “The part of the investigators on the case - which isn’t us, we are in charge of actually doing the search on the mountain - they are the ones in charge of doing the investigation. They have already spoken to the men and it didn’t have any point of relevance to the case.”