Uncle of missing Jay Slater breaks silence as fresh search launched

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

The uncle of missing Jay Slater has described the 19 year old's disappearance on Tenerife as "just torture" for the family but remain hopeful as he made a heartbreaking Madeleine McCann comparison.

Glen Duncan, 41, was part of a group of nine family members and local volunteers who spent Saturday searching for Mr Slater, who has been missing since June 17.

Mr Duncan, along with Mr Slater's father Warren Slater and his older brother Zak, traversed the paths and navigated the slopes of Barranco Juan Lopez, a gorge near where Mr Slater's phone last pinged. The area has previously been scoured by police helicopters and drones but local hiker Juan Garcia, who led the latest foot search with his dog Caperucita, likened it to a "labyrinth" and "like looking for a needle in a haystack".

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Mr Slater's uncle recounted the "treacherous" conditions upon returning from the search in blistering heat and said "it's easy to get lost", but he believes if Mr Slater had fallen, he would've been discovered by now. He described his nephew as a "typical, normal 19-year-old lad" who was family-oriented and had a large circle of male and female friends, reports Sky News.

"He's just a typical great young lad with a massive circle of friends and was looking forward to coming here," he said. When asked how the family are coping, he responded: "It's just torture." However, he stated they are not giving up hope and Mr Slater's mother Debbie Duncan "is not going anywhere".

"You've got to cling on because we don't know," he said. "He's not been found so you've got to cling on. I'm sure Madeleine McCann's parents still cling on after all these years that she'll be found somewhere on the other side of the world."

Mr Duncan expressed the family's frustration with the lack of updates from the local authorities, saying: "It's getting to the point where you're becoming angry. Who knows what the police are doing out here," he continued, voicing his concerns about the investigation. "They don't give anything away."

He questioned the efforts being made by the police, asking: "What are they actively doing? Because they're not here. Are they making door to door enquiries, are they studying CCTV footage? I don't know." Despite the official search being called off by Tenerife police on June 30 after an extensive 12-day operation, Sky News was informed that Mr Slater's family is permitted to engage their own search and rescue teams.

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Jay’s dad Warren Slater and brother Zak continue to search in Tenerife -Credit:Stan Kujawa

The search for Mr Slater in the northern village of Masca, close to where he was last seen, covered challenging terrain including steep slopes, ravines, and trails. Efforts included the use of helicopters, drones, and search dogs to locate the young apprentice bricklayer from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, but to no avail.

The Guardia Civil has confirmed that the case remains open, although they have not shared details regarding their investigative approach. The family of Mr Slater, who has been missing since June, have said they plan to use some of the £50,000 raised through a crowdfunding page to fund specialist search and rescue teams. However, they are awaiting permission from the authorities.

The Guardia Civil informed Sky News that search teams from other locations can join the search "without any problem". They must inform the Guardia Civil for efficient management of information and resources. As of now, no such request has been made.

Mr Slater travelled to Tenerife with friends on 13 June to attend a music festival at Papagayo nightclub in Playa de las Americas on 16 June. After leaving the event, he travelled to a small Airbnb in Masca with two men, who police have stated are "not relevant" to the case.

On the morning of 17 June, at 8.30am, he contacted his friend Lucy Law, informing her that he had missed his bus and attempted to walk back to his accommodation. He mentioned that he had "cut his leg" on a cactus, was lost, and his phone battery was at "1%", according to Ms Law.

Shortly after, his phone died and he was reported missing at 9.04am. His last known location was in Rural de Teno Park, near Masca. A local cafe owner previously told Sky News that Mr Slater had tried to catch a bus back to Los Cristianos, where he was staying.

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Jay Slater search
Jay Slater's phone last 'pinged' somewhere within the Parque Rural de Teno nature reserve, which became the focal point of the Spanish police's search before they officially called it off -Credit:Stan Kujawa