A missing teen told a friend he was 'lost in the mountains' of a remote Spanish island. Then his phone went dead (2024)

Amid glaring neon signs, cheap alcohol and booming music, a British teenager became the 11th person to disappear from a Spanish island this year.

Jay Slater, a 19-year-old apprentice bricklayer, spent his final night among the hordes of young tourists in Playa de las Americas in Tenerife on June 16.

A single phone call to a friend the following morning — he was lost, he was dehydrated, his phone was about to die — was the last sign of him.

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Spanish police, mountain rescue teams, sniffer dogs, drones and more have since been combing the island.

The case has also captured the attention of online sleuths and sparked "vile" conspiracies that have only grown over the course of the 11-day search effort.

'Lost in the mountains … his phone was on 1 per cent'

Mr Slater was attending the last night of the New Rave Generation music festival at Papagayo nightclub, having travelled to the island for the three-day event.

The friend travelling with him, Lucy Law, wrote on a GoFundMe page: "On the last day of the festival, I left alone, earlier than everyone else, because I was tired from the weekend.

"[Jay] had met two people on Sunday night and left with them to go to their apartment."

He left Playa de las Americas sometime between 3am and 6am.

Mr Slater posted a photo on Snapchat at 7.30am, showing the door of a property and tagging Rural de Teno National Park, a remote northern area, as his location.

On Monday morning, the teenager called Ms Law, saying he had missed the bus and planned to walk back to their accommodation.

On foot, it would have been an 11-hour trek across the island.

About 8:15am, he told Ms Law he was "lost in the mountains, he wasn't aware of his surroundings, he desperately needed a drink and his phone was on 1 per cent".

"He has no water for when it's warm throughout the day, and he has no coat/suitable clothing for when it's cold at night," she said.

"It was 1 degree and extremely windy when I was out looking in the middle of the night."

The last confirmed sighting was by a woman whose brother owned the cottage the two festivalgoers Mr Slater had gone home with had been staying in.

She said he had asked about bus times — it was a two-hour wait — and later saw him walking out of Masca, the village the property was located in.

A missing teen told a friend he was 'lost in the mountains' of a remote Spanish island. Then his phone went dead (1)

His phone last recorded his location at 8:50am in the Rural de Teno National Park, a more-than-8,000-hectare area made up of mountains, valleys, cliffs and some of the deepest ravines on the island.

He has not been seen since.

A growing search and a grainy CCTV image

Mr Slater's friends raised the alarm shortly after receiving the 8:15am phone call, which cut off abruptly.

On Tuesday morning, his mother, Debbie Duncan, flew to the island to aid in the search for him, and later issued a desperate plea directly to her son.

"We just need you home," she said, according to PA news wire.

Asked how the family were coping with the situation, she said: "We're not. I'm not coping very well at all.

"I've not slept, I'm exhausted, it's been awful. I can't give up on him, I just can't."

In the days following, the search expanded to include multiple volunteers, search and rescue teams, drones, and specially trained sniffer dogs.

Their search focused on the area where his phone pinged.

Following an unconfirmed report of a possible sighting in the town of Santiago del Teide, his father, Warren Slater, has been putting up posters appealing for information.

Grainy CCTV footage showed a figure walking past a church in the town — a few kilometres from where he was last seen — on the evening of June 17.

The sighting has not been confirmed by police.

Santiago del Teide mayor Emilio Navarro said he did not believe the teenager had made it to the town, despite police requesting security footage.

"The Guardia Civil sent us an email asking for our security cameras," he told The Independent.

"We could not give it to them as they are organised through a separate company, so the police are speaking to them.

"But that CCTV picture is not from us and I do not recognise that place. I do not think it is in Santiago del Tiede and he is not here.

"We will help the police but it makes no sense."

Missing persons cases are not uncommon on Tenerife.

According to Spain's Interior Ministry, Mr Slater is one of 27 unsolved missing persons cases from 2008 onwards.

Search and rescue groups have warned officials in the past the island's resources were insufficient when it came to disappearances.

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The coordinator of volunteer search group SOS Disappeared Santiago Carlos Martin said in 2022 that families "feel abandoned".

"There are many who have disappeared in the Canary Islands and the number has increased since the pandemic," he told The Sun newspaper.

"Perhaps the orography or the social structure have an influence, but we don't know.

"One of the big problems is that the police often take time to geolocate the telephone numbers of the disappeared person due to bureaucratic procedures that act as a barrier.

"The time in a disappearance is important and the process is too complex, which wastes many days."

Local UK media has reported Mr Slater is one of 11 people to go missing on the island in the last six months.

British police have said they are "satisfied" Spanish authorities have the resources they need, but that they had "made an offer of support" and "they will contact us should that position change".

Family receives 'vile' messages

Users on Facebook, TikTok and other sites have spread rumours of a body being found, including edited posts blaming "the Moroccans" for his disappearance.

Private investigator Mark Williams-Thomas told media the family had been sent dozens of "vile" messages.

"There are people out there who have phoned up and said we've got Jay hostage, we've got Jay captive and they need to pay," he said.

"There are some really vile people who have done that, they've tried to hack some of the social media sites, they've attacked some of the family.

"This is unacceptable."

Social media users have also targeted a crowdfunding campaign set up by friends and family.

Ms Duncan hit back at commenters via a Facebook post addressing the fundraiser, writing: "I am really saddened by all your comments.

"You seem to be so bothered about this GoFundMe page … I really hope I am not taking my son home in a body bag.

"The funds are not released and won't be if not needed.

"I really cannot believe the British public are not supporting me in trying to find Jay. This may happen to any of you one day. Very let down by you all."

Search efforts are continuing. Mr Slater's family have said they still hope he will be found alive.

Posted, updated

A missing teen told a friend he was 'lost in the mountains' of a remote Spanish island. Then his phone went dead (2024)


Where did Jay Slater go missing in Tenerife? ›

Apprentice bricklayer Jay, 19, disappeared on June 17 in the remote Rural de Teno area of Tenerife while holidaying for a three-day music festival with friends.

How long has Jay Slater been missing? ›

He was last seen setting off on a walk back to his accommodation in Los Cristianos - a journey of around 11 hours. Police called off the land hunt on 30 June after 12 days.

Has Jay Slater been called off? ›

Jay Slater: Search for missing British teenager in area of Tenerife called off by police.

Where was Jay Slater from? ›

The hunt in the northern village of Masca, near Mr Slater's last-known location, took in a steep rocky area, ravines and trails. Helicopters, drones and search dogs were deployed to find the apprentice bricklayer from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, but without success.

Has the search ended for Jay Slater? ›

Police in Tenerife have said the unsuccessful two-week search in the mountains for a missing British teenager is now over, although the case remains open.

Where has Jay gone missing in Tenerife? ›

He was last heard from before 09:00 BST in the Rural de Teno Park, where he called a friend to say he had missed the bus and was trying to make the 10-hour walk back to their accommodation in the south of the island.

Who was Charlie Slater to Kat Slater? ›

Charlie Slater was the son of Frederick Slater and Mary Slater, brother of Harry Slater and Violet Slater, husband of Viv Slater, and father of Lynne Slater, Kat Slater, Little Mo Slater and Belinda Peaco*ck.

How long has Kelly Slater been surfing? ›

The son of a bait-store proprietor, Slater grew up near the water, and he began surfing at age five. By age 10 he was winning age-division events up and down the Atlantic coast, and in 1984 he won his first age-division United States championship title.

Where was Jay Wheeler raised? ›

Wheeler was born José Ángel López Martínez on April 25, 1994, to a working-class family in Salinas, Puerto Rico. He first developed an interest in music as a child through singing at his local church, where he also learned to play the piano.

Where is AC Slater from? ›

Los Angeles, CA, United States · November 9, 1979 · Dance

Active on the hardcore scene since the early 2000s, he made a much greater impact once he switched to more accessible club styles around 2008.

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