Theo Hayez, 18, was last seen leaving the holiday town’s Cheeky Monkey’s bar about 11pm on May 31.
His distraught father Laurent Hayez made an emotional plea for help on Monday, begging encrypted chat service WhatsApp to grant police access to his son’s final known conversations.
WhatsApp confirmed it had provided all the information it has to police. However the company is only able to access and disclose some data — which can include a user’s name, last seen date, IP address and basic information — but not the encrypted content.
Mr Hayez said he feared his son was in grave danger and begged for any information that could lead police to his whereabouts.
“Before I left Belgium I promised Theo’s little brother Lucas that I would bring his brother home. Please, help me keep my promise to him,” Mr Hayez told reporters through tears.
He was reported missing on June 6 when he failed to return to his hostel and couldn’t be contacted. His passport and other personal belongings had been left untouched in his room.
While homicide detectives are helping the investigation, along with Belgian authorities, Superintendent David Roptell said he held out hope that Theo was alive.
“We’re just not clear at this point,” he said.
“It appears to be out of character. He was intending to go home. It’s baffling as to what’s occurred, but we’re not ruling anything out.”
Dozens of people, including State Emergency Service volunteers and members of the public, on Tuesday. returned to the area around Cape Byron Lighthouse where the last ‘ping’ from Theo’s phone was recorded on June 1.
The search was suspended on Tuesday evening with nothing of interest found, NSW Police said in a statement.
The operation will resume mid-morning on Wednesday with specialist police forces.
Belgian police are also working in Europe to speak with people Theo may have contacted in his final known hours.
More than $65,000 has been raised via a GoFundMe page for the Hayez family, part of which was used to help Laurent Hayez fly to Australia.
Mr Hayez arrived in the country late last week and has vowed to stay until his son is found.