'Picture being painted of Jay Slater is just not true', says employer of British teen missing in Tenerife

23 June 2024, 10:39 | Updated: 24 June 2024, 08:13

The construction company that employs missing British teenager Jay Slater has said the "picture being painted of him is just not true".

Mr Slater, from Oswaldtwistle near Blackburn in Lancashire, has been missing in Tenerife since Monday morning.

Since he went missing, rumours and conspiracy theories about his disappearance have circulated online, with social media users speculating on platforms including TikTok and Facebook.

But on Sunday, PH Build, which employs Mr Slater as an apprentice bricklayer said the teenager has been misrepresented online.

The firm wrote on Facebook: "Our Jay is still missing!

"We have decided to remove our last post due to all the negative comments and conspiracy theories.

"Jay has been with us since he left school and is liked by all. He's a valued member of our team and we stand by him.

"The picture being painted of him is just not true. The fact is he's a 19-year-old lad missing in a foreign country. He needs to be back home where he belongs. Come on Jay we are all praying for you."

The 19-year-old's family have flown to the Spanish island to join police and a team of mountain rescuers in the search for him.

A GoFundMe appeal to raise money for the search has been set up by Mr Slater's friend and has already passed £30,000.

At the weekend his mother Debbie Duncan thanked those who had donated, before adding: "We have not yet withdrawn any funds and are currently covering the expenses, such as the trip to Tenerife and accommodation, ourselves."

Search area narrowed down

On Sunday officers searching for Mr Slater could be seen circling two structures at the bottom of a ravine in Rural de Teno Park - where his phone last pinged before it ran out of battery.

Efforts appeared to be solely focused on one area after days of searches in the northwestern mountain village of Masca and the surrounding landscape.

Those conducting the searches on the seventh day of the hunt for Mr Slater could be seen looking into blue barrels outside one of the small buildings.

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Mr Slater attended the NRG festival in the south of Tenerife on Sunday 16 June before going to Masca with two people he met at the event.

His friends he had been holidaying with have not seen him since last Sunday night, but on Monday morning he spoke to one of them on the phone and told her he was lost, in need of water, and only had 1% charge on his phone.

During the short phone call, he told his friend Lucy Law he had missed a bus trying to get back to his holiday accommodation so was attempting to walk instead - a journey that would take 11 hours.

'Nightmare' for missing teen's family

Mr Slater's father told Sky News on Saturday he is "just hoping that somebody has helped him off this mountain".

Warren Slater has flown out to Tenerife with the missing teenager's brother Zak to help with the search.

The father said the last few days have been "a nightmare, just a nightmare".

Meanwhile, Mr Slater's mother also made a direct plea to her missing son to come home this weekend, saying: "We just need you home."

Ms Duncan said she has "not slept" since he disappeared.

Asked how the family were coping with the situation, she said: "We're not. I'm not coping very well at all. I've not slept, I'm exhausted. It's been awful. I can't give up on him, I just can't."

The last person to speak to Mr Slater was Masca local Ofelia Medina Hernandez, who told the teenager a bus was due at 10am after he asked what time it would come.

She added that he then set off before she later drove past him "walking fast".

Earlier this week, photographs emerged showing the Tenerife property where Mr Slater had reportedly been before he went missing.