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Jay Slater: Life on Tenerife returns to normal as search for missing Brit enters fourth week | UK News

Three weeks on from the disappearance of British teenager Jay Slater, life on the island of Tenerife has almost returned to normal.

The main strip, Veronicas, in Playa de las Americas was packed with groups of young British holidaymakers on Sunday night with heavy drinking and open drug use on clear display in the neon-lit bars that blast out dance music.

At the beachside Papagayo nightclub, where 19-year-old Jay partied into the early hours of Monday 17 June at the NRG music festival, people ate dinner and drank cocktails before the dancefloor filled up.

Jay’s family still have no answers to why he chose to leave with two older men, travelling by car for the hour-long journey north to the tiny village of Masca, instead of returning to the accommodation where he was staying in nearby Los Cristianos.

Jay Slater. Pic: LBT Global/Slater family
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Jay Slater. Pic: LBT Global/Slater family

Its rugged beauty is a world away from the bars, kebab shops, strip clubs and fast-food restaurants that line the party centre of the resort.

Before the road narrows and snakes up into the mountains, Jay would have passed through Santiago del Teide, which over the weekend was busy with locals and tourists dining at the handful of restaurants dotted around the small rural town.

Missing posters pinned up inside the two bus stops which sit opposite each other along the main road are the only hint of the search for Jay.

Masca’s association with his disappearance doesn’t seem to have deterred visitors, as rented cars navigate the hairpin bends that wind their way up and down the steep slopes to the village.

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If they can find a parking space, tourists stop to take in the breathtaking views, walk the trails or get refreshments at a few small cafes, one which is run by Ofelia Medina Hernandez, above the modest Airbnb where Jay returned with the two men.

She has previously told Sky News Jay tried to catch a bus back to Los Cristianos, but his friend Lucy Law says he told her he missed it and had tried to walk back – a journey which would have taken around 11 hours.

He said he had “cut his leg” on a cactus, had “no idea where he was”, was “lost in the mountains” and his phone battery was on “1%”, Lucy said, and shortly afterwards, his battery ran out and he was reported missing.

Canarian police officers carry out a drone search for the young British man Jay Slater in the Los Carrizales ravine, on the island of Tenerife, Spain, June 26, 2024. REUTERS/Borja Suarez
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The official search has now been called off. Pic: Reuters/Borja Suarez

His last known location was in a deep gorge which leads down to the sea, which became the focal point for the 12-day police search as drones, dogs and helicopters were deployed in a bid to find the teenager, before it was called off last Sunday.

Tourists stop at the viewpoint restaurant and gift shop that functioned as the makeshift headquarters for the operation to pose for photographs in front of the stunning backdrop, sample the speciality grilled goat’s cheese with honey or sip a Barraquito – a layered coffee drink made with lemon, liqueur and condensed milk.

A woman tending to her crop of onions in the idyllic nearby village of Los Carrizales said the only sign of police activity on Saturday was a single Guardia Civil car that drove down the narrow road before returning shortly afterwards.

Police had previously searched the caves that overlook the smallholdings that grow crops of vegetables and grape vines and flew drones overhead.

pic from Henry Vaughan of the area being searched to go with 06/07 copy
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The area being searched by Mr Slater’s family

Now Jay’s family rely on the kindness of volunteers to search the rocky slopes, where lizards scurry between the cacti and bushes.

His father Warren Slater, older brother Zak Slater, and uncle Glen Duncan were accompanied by a local hiking group to search an area of Barranco Juan Lopez, the gorge where Jay’s phone was last located, in the searing heat on Saturday.

One member had cuts on her arms as she made her way back up the dusty track to the road, while his uncle described the conditions as “treacherous”.

“It’s so easy to get lost down there. You can’t see anybody. I got to a point where I wasn’t even looking for my nephew anymore but trying to find my way out to safety,” he said.

On Sunday, the only visible search was being carried out by Paul Arnott, a lone hiker from Bedfordshire, who travelled from Fort William in Scotland and shares videos of his efforts to find Jay which attract hundreds of thousands of views on TikTok.

Police on Tenerife, who say the investigation is still ongoing, have been criticised for abandoning the search and for the limited information they are sharing with Jay’s family.

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TikTok star pulls out of search

But Santiago Carlos Martin, from the SOS Desaparecidos in Tenerife, a missing persons organisation, says the resources afforded to the search because of the publicity eclipse those used in other cases.

According to the group’s website, there are 82 missing people in the Canary Islands, the oldest dating back to 1981, with 50 on the island of Tenerife alone, including some 22 foreigners – some of them also Britons.

Jay’s family don’t want him to be forgotten and have not given up hope of finding him.

“Just keep it out there,” Jay’s uncle Glen told reporters as he returned from the arduous search.

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