Police make volunteers plea for Jay Slater search

7 hours ago

By Jonny HumphriesBBC News

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Jay Slater, pictured with his mother Debbie Duncan, has not been seen since 17 June

Police have called on volunteers to help with a large-scale search for missing British teenager Jay Slater – as a friend said he feared he had left a designated pathway.

The Spanish Guardia Civil said the search will begin in Tenerife on Saturday and called on “private volunteers” with expertise in difficult terrain to help.

Mr Slater, 19, has not been heard from since the morning of 17 June when he failed to return to his accommodation in the south of the island.

The search will focus on the ravines and trails around the village of Masca, and will start from the Mirador de la Cruz de Hilda restaurant.

Mr Slater’s last known location was in a mountainous area near the village, which is about 40 minutes drive from where he was staying.

Speaking to ITV earlier, his best friend Brad Hargreaves revealed he had spoken to Mr Slater on a video call earlier on the morning he disappeared and was left with the impression had left a pathway.

He said: “He was on the phone walking down a road and he’d gone over a little bit – not a big drop – but a tiny little drop and he was going down, and he said ‘I’ll ring ya back, I’ll ring ya back’ because I think someone else was ringing him.

“If he was thinking like me, he would have gone back up and started walking on the path again. He wouldn’t have gone all that way down there.”

Mr Hargreaves said he could see Mr Slater had gone off the path because his feet were visible walking on rocky ground.

Jay Slater: Spanish police release footage of the harsh terrain being searched

The Guardia Civil said it was calling on specialist voluntary organisations including firefighters and civil protection teams.

A spokesman described the terrain as “a steep, rocky area, full of unevenness and with a multitude of ravines, trails and paths.”

The force added that it was also calling on members of the public to help, but only those with expertise in such conditions.

The search is due to take place from 09:00 BST.

The Spanish authorities have already deployed search dogs, helicopter crews and drones.

Mr Slater, from Oswaldtwistle in Lancashire, was in Tenerife to attend the NRG music festival in the tourist hotspot of Playa de las Americas.

His friends say he was seen getting into a car with two British men he met during the holiday.

‘Second by second’

He sent messages in the early hours of 17 June from an Airbnb property in Masca, which sits within the Rural de Teno national park on the north west of the island.

The Guardia Civil earlier described the search area as “huge” and said its officers and other agencies were searching “everything”.

Rachel Hargreaves, the mother of Mr Slater’s friend Brad, said family and friends were living “second by second” while the efforts continued.

On Thursday Ms Hargreaves said the intense social media speculation around the case had resulted in some people trolling the family, which had added to their “living nightmare”.

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Brad Hargreaves described how he and Mr Slater had become separated earlier in the evening, before his friend got into the car with the men he met during the night.

“He’s ended up back with them and I don’t know how or what has gone on there but he’s gone off and rang me halfway to their house saying I’m staying here and I’ll be back the next day,” he said.

“He’s rang me walking down the mountain and he just says he’s walking home.

“At the time I didn’t think anything of it I just thought he was going to get a bus home or a taxi home because that’s what he says he is going to do.

“Next thing you know his phone dies and it’s 10 days on now and nothing since.”

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Jay Slater pictured earlier on the evening he disappeared

A crowdfunding page set up for donations to help Mr Slater’s family while the search is ongoing, has now surpassed £40,000.

Lancashire Police has said the force had offered assistance to the Guardia Civil, which declined saying it had “the resources it needed”.

It also said it had not interviewed in connection with the case anyone who had recently returned from Tenerife.

Mr Slater’s mother, Debbie Duncan, previously told the BBC her son was on his first holiday with friends without any parents.

He’s just an all-round nice, bubbly guy with hundreds of friends who love being in his company,” she said.

“He’s gorgeous, he’s beautiful. He’s my baby.”

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