Spanish judge delivers major update based on evidence in Jay Slater case

Jay Slater is still missing
-Credit: (Image: LancsLive)

Spanish authorities have delivered a major update in the Jay Slater as the search for the 19 year-old was called off.

The Civil Guard urged people to join a “massive search” on Saturday to find the teenager, from Oswaldtwistle in Lancashire, but only six volunteers turned up to join the nearly 30 professional searchers, including police, fire and mountain rescue officers.

The Spanish police officers would continue to act on any tip-offs or other information received, but the active work that has been ongoing since 17 June when Jay was reported missing will now cease, The Mirror reports.

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Today, it emerged the female investigating judge who is being kept informed of developments has been told the Civil Guard sees nothing at this stage pointing to Jay being the victim of a crime.

As is standard procedure in Spain, the police force is reporting to a court which has opened a routine judicial investigation and has declined to comment on what it is doing behind the scenes as part of a 'parallel probe' which has continued despite the ending of the visible mountain search.

In the case of the teenager, the court is Court of Instruction Number One in the municipality of Icod de los Vinos. That is because it is the judicial district covering villages like Masca and also the same place a friend formally reported Jay missing to the Civil Guard “between 6pm and 8pm” on June 17 according to well-placed sources.

A judicial source, speaking on condition of anonymity as is normal in Spain, said: “There is no evidence of criminality at this stage in this case. That’s not to say things won’t change because the case remains open and investigations are ongoing. But right now that’s the situation.”

Another said: “This missing persons’ case has been judicialised as is normal in Spain and it’s been lodged at Court of Instruction Number One in Icod de los Vinos. The Civil Guard don’t have to tell the judge about everything officers are doing but will be keeping her updated on case progress and of course update her on any significant developments.”

In line with the revelation that the Jay Slater probe is being treated at the moment as a missing person inquiry and not a crime, officials confirmed investigating judge Maria Goya has not declared it ‘secret’ to protect the judicial proceedings.

An order called in Spanish a ‘secreto de sumario’ is often slapped on a criminal probe in its infancy, preventing even defence lawyers and prosecuting attorneys from accessing case files.

Such orders also prevent public officials from revealing details of any case files with breaches punishable by heavy fines. Judges who make their investigations secret when cases are still in their infancy act out of a desire to avoid them being compromised by minimising the risk of leaks.

The judicial source said: “The Jay Slater case that has been opened at the Icod de los Vinos court is not under any secrecy order.” The revelation will add further mystery to what could have happened to the teenager, last seen leaving a rented Airbnb in Masca he had gone back to with two British men he met at the three-day rave he travelled to Tenerife for.

He was spotted walking the wrong way out of the village after stopping a local to ask her about bus times to Los Cristianos in the south of Tenerife where his hotel was just around 8am on June 17.

The police suspension of the mountain search has been widely interpreted as a sign officers do not think he is in the area in and around the Masca Gorge which they searched with sniffer dogs, mountain rescue experts and a helicopter. Jay’s family have claimed they believe someone could be holding him against his will.

His mum Debbie Duncan said early on in the now-suspended mountain search: “If he is lost then why hasn't anyone seen him?

“It's busy with hikers and holidaymakers up there so if he was lost then someone would have seen him, so that's why I think maybe he's been bundled off somewhere.”

Jay’s family, who have vowed to carry on the search for the 19-year-old themselves, were due to meet with police today after admitting they were ‘disappointed” at the decision to halt it.

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