Jay Slater search: Teenager's disappearance in Tenerife shrouded in speculation and questions

In a corner of Tenerife, a winding, narrow road takes you towards a small village called Masca. At points on the route, the view of the sea below and the mountains above is breathtaking.

This place, with its handful of houses and cafes, nestled among ravines and rockfaces, is about a 40-minute drive from the parts of the island most British tourists know, but it might as well be a world away.

There isn't the bustle of the resort towns in the south, with their clubs and bars. Instead, there are vast expanses of land that are arid and difficult to traverse on foot.

In the 13 days since the disappearance of Jay Slater, a 19-year-old apprentice bricklayer from Lancashire, the hikers and tourists who come to Masca have been joined by two more groups of people.

The first are the emergency services, including the civil guard, volunteer firefighters and mountain rescue teams carrying out the so-far unsuccessful search for Jay. The second group are journalists like me, trying to understand a case shrouded in speculation and questions.

Jay's journey

Those questions begin with Jay's journey which started at Papayago, the nightclub where he was last pictured enjoying the end of the New Rave Generation (NRG) festival late on 16 June.

The club is in Playa De Las Americas, not too far from Los Cristianos where he was staying. Full of British revellers and near the beach, the strip is an area Jay would have been growing familiar with, having been at the festival for two days.

But on the event's third and final night, instead of going back to the accommodation he was sharing with friends, Jay jumped in a car with two men, travelling to a small Airbnb in Masca.

This is where the information about his movements and whereabouts begins to thin, aside from the testimony of one eyewitness we met on our first full day in Tenerife.

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Ofelia Medina Hernandez runs a cafe above the Airbnb and says she saw Jay at about 8am on 17 June.

"He asked twice what time the bus came," she told us. "He came back and he asked me again, and I told him again, at 10 o'clock.

"Later I got in my car, and I saw him, he was walking quickly, but I didn't see him again after that," she added.

Despite the door to the Airbnb being just yards from a bus stop which would have taken him back down south, Medina Hernandez described Jay walking in the wrong direction.

Another key component of the timeline is a conversation Jay had with a friend on the phone at around 8.30am that day. He told them he was walking back after missing a bus - a journey that would take 11 hours on foot.

He also said he was lost, in need of water, and only had 1% charge on his phone.

His phone is believed to have been last located near an observatory around an 18-minute walk away, which is where the efforts of the emergency services were focused in the first week.

The search

That visible flurry of activity included emergency services using a helicopter, drones and sniffer dogs.

However, as the days went on, that sprawling search became a more tightly focused one, with smaller groups of officers looking at pockets of land, like ravines and caves.

Despite allowing us to film them at a distance, the teams, led by the civil guard, have refused to give much guidance on the ground, instead choosing to release updates and footage via WhatsApp.

With no news conference or formal interviews on offer, they've largely kept journalists in the dark.

'I just want him back'

One group who are hoping for information and updates more than anyone else are Jay's loved ones.

A small group of his friends and family have stayed in Tenerife, clearly struggling to come to terms with the void left by his absence and the prospect he might not return.

On the first Saturday after his disappearance, we met his dad Warren and brother Zak for the first time and their anguish was clear.

Speaking to us near Masca, after trying to retrace Jay's steps, Warren said he was "just hoping that somebody has helped him off this mountain".

"That's all I want, that somebody has helped him get off this mountain. I just want him back and that's it. He's, my son."

His voice then cracked and he walked away from the camera and repeated: "I just want him back and that's it."

Despite his visible pain, Warren has also to push this search forward in his own way. Two days later in the town of Santiago Del Teide, we meet him again.

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That afternoon he was tearful again - but determined, handing out flyers with a small group of friends.

Their reason for choosing the town, which is 7km away from Masca, was because of a grainy CCTV image that suggested Jay was last seen in the town's square.

Online speculation

The family hinging so much hope on that information was an insight into how this case isn't just about what's happening on the ground, but also the narrative online.

A Facebook group called Jay Slater Missing - Only Official Group reached more than 500,000 members in less than a week and was inundated with speculation around the case, before comments in the group were restricted.

The noise on social media, coupled with the situation, have added to his family's distress, something his mother Debbie Duncan who is also in Tenerife, alluded to in a statement.

"I have every faith in them down on the ground and the amazing searches they are carrying out along with more amazing guys up there," she said.

"As a family we are in a living nightmare. We have no further updates other than Jay is still missing and we are just ignoring the social media side of things."

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It's clear though that social media has not only hurt the family, they also feel it's helped them too, a point Debbie made when specifically thanking Paul Arnott.

A hiker from Bedfordshire, he has travelled from Fort William in Scotland to Spain and promised to stay however long it takes to find the teenager.

Never too far from the police search, Paul has been scrambling down ridges and climbing hills on his own while regularly updating his followers in TikTok.

Away from the small screen is the reality of the situation, as the hunt for Jay enters its 13th day.

It's a period that promises to be pivotal, with the Spanish Civil Guard calling on volunteer agencies such as Civil Protection and firefighters, as well as "individual volunteers who are experts in rugged search terrain" for a "massive search".

In a case that has seen every twist and turn followed in places well beyond the rugged terrain of North West Tenerife, today feels like the beginning of one last push to try to find Jay Slater.