Jay Slater search 'could be boosted by partridge hunting season' - as missing teen's mum issues update

Hunters and their dogs could provide a breakthrough in the search for missing Jay Slater as they walk through the area of Tenerife where the teenager disappeared during partridge season, locals believe.

The 19-year-old was last seen on 17 June after leaving an Airbnb in the northern village of Masca to walk back to his accommodation in Los Cristianos - which would've taken him 11 hours.

Volunteers, including a local hiking group, have been searching the Rural de Teno Park - an area of steep rocky slopes, caves, ravines and trails - after the police stopped the official search on 30 June.

On Sunday TikToker Paul Arnott, a solo climber whose videos of his efforts to find Mr Slater have been attracting hundreds of thousands of views, was seen searching for the missing teen.

A woman, tending to her crop of onions in the tiny, picturesque village of Los Carrizales, said just one police vehicle from the Guardia Civil had been in the area on Saturday. It was previously the scene of intense search activity as police flew drones above and searched inside the deep caves.

She also told Sky News the partridge hunting season begins soon, meaning there will be more people with dogs walking through the area.

"There will be different people in the area and a better chance of finding him," she said.

The season begins in early August but hunters are already in the area for training.

Also seen on Sunday, two huntsmen, with their pack of dogs, were spotted in the same area that was searched by a local hiking group, along with members of Mr Slater's family the previous day.

The team, led by local hiker Juan Garcia, and including Mr Slater's uncle Glen Duncan, father Warren Slater and older brother Zak, focused on an area of a gorge close to where his phone was last located.

Following the search of Barranco Juan Lopez, which had previously been searched by police helicopters and drones, Mr Garcia said it was a "labyrinth" and "like looking for a needle in a haystack".

The area is covered in cacti and bushes and the hiker told Sky News: "He could be nearby, two metres away, and we wouldn't see him."

Another member of the group said they had planned out maps and search routes to continue the operation to find Mr Slater over the coming days.

Despite police calling off their search, Mr Slater's mother, Debbie Duncan, has said she and her family will stay on the island.

Ms Duncan has given an update on a GoFundMe page set up to help find her son, which has now received more than £51,000 in donations.

"We have been overwhelmed by the kindness and support we have received and would like to thank the local hiking group for all of their help planning the routes to find our Jay," she said.

She continued: "We have been contacted by a wonderful group of locals who have volunteered to continue the search.

"While they don't wish to accept financial help for their search, we will be supporting them with supplies and are so grateful for their willingness to help.

"We also continue to be contacted by experienced groups offering to support our search. We are busy talking to them about what they can do to assist.

"But in order for us to employ their help, they need to have permission from the Spanish authorities."

Mr Duncan said his nephew's disappearance has been "just torture" for the family, but they were not giving up hope.

The 41-year-old described the "treacherous" conditions as he returned from the search in searing heat and said "it's easy to get lost" but believes if Mr Slater had fallen, he would've been found by now.

He believes there may have been third party involvement in the disappearance of Mr Slater, who he described as a "typical great young lad with a massive circle of friends and was looking forward to coming here".

He also said the family is frustrated by the lack of communication from police on the island, adding: "It's getting to the point where you're becoming angry."

The police 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.

After halting the operation, the Guardia Civil told Sky News his family can bring in their own search and rescue teams to look for the missing teenager.

The Guardia Civil have said the investigation is still ongoing but won't disclose their lines of enquiry.

Read more:
Jay Slater's family hits back at TikToker who has quit search
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Jay Slater's last known movements

Mr Slater travelled to Tenerife with friends on 13 June to attend a music festival at Papagayo nightclub in the southern resort of Playa de las Americas on 16 June.

After he left the event, he got in a car early the next morning and travelled to a small Airbnb in Masca with two men, who police said were "not relevant" to the case.

At 8.30am on 17 June, he called his friend Lucy Law, telling her he missed his bus and had tried to walk back to his accommodation.

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%", Ms Law said.

Shortly afterwards, his battery ran out and he was reported missing at 9.04am.

His last known location was in the Rural de Teno Park, near Masca.

A local cafe owner previously told Sky News Mr Slater tried to catch a bus back to Los Cristianos, where he was staying.

Ofelia Medina Hernandez said she spoke to the teenager at 8am on the day of his disappearance, telling him a bus was due at 10am - but he set off walking.

She said she later drove past him "walking fast".