Byron Bay residents gathered on the beach to decorate a large sand mandala with orange flowers, feathers, shells and stones to commemorate the two years since the disappearance of Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez.
As the sun set, beachgoers continued to reminisce and pray for answers about what had happened to the 18-year-old.
Resident Miriam Healy said Mr Hayez’s disappearance was still raw and the community hoped someone would come forward with information.
“As a community we have no answers and that breaks our hearts. He is always in our thoughts and thoughts,” she said.
Mr Hayez was last seen around 11pm on May 31, 2019 leaving the Cheeky Monkeys bar on Johnson Street. He was reported missing in early June by WakeUp! Backpacker hostel, when they noticed he hadn’t checked out his room.
At the time of his disappearance, he was wearing a black hooded sweater, beige pants and black shoes.
Ms Healy said the mandala motif had been brought up by Mr Hayez’s family, who were unable to attend the memorial, while many of the decorations had been in his favorite color: orange.
”We talked about Theo, held hands and people shared different wishes for Theo and their appreciation for each other. We shed tears, we are still heartbroken. It feels the same after two years as after a year, there are no answers,” she said.