Family hits back as TikTok star quits search, says he ‘never had any money’ from GoFundMe

The family of Jay Slater hit back at a TikToker who gave up the search for the missing teenager, saying: “We don’t need hikers, we need experts.”

Callum Fahim, who flew to Tenerife after contacting the 19-year-old’s mother online, Sky News told him he has withdrawn after two weeks of watching – and receiving death threats.

He said he and his group had not seen a penny of the money raised to help find Mr Slater and plans to return to the UK on Thursday.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Slater’s family said his mother Debbie Duncan gave Mr Fahim £740 of her own money for accommodation but he became “bitter” when they refused to give him more money.

They said they wanted to save the money to pay for specialist search and rescue teams which would cost thousands of pounds – but they have to wait for permission from the authorities.

“We are grateful to everyone who came out,” they said.

“He’s a hiker. We don’t need hikers, we need experts.”

Mr. Slater last heard from on June 17 after he started walking back to his accommodation – a journey of around 11 hours.

Police the land hunt was terminated on June 30 after 12 days, but Miss Duncan said she and her family will remain on the Spanish island to continue the search.

In a statement on a GoFundMe page set up to help fund the search for her son – which has raised almost £50,000 – Miss Duncan thanked the Spanish authorities and supporters.

She said some of the funds will be used to support volunteers hunting for Mr Slater in the mountain – but Mr Fahim has told Sky News he has received no money.

Referring to Mr. Fahim and another TikTok user sent to Tenerife to help you, Ms. Duncan wrote: “We are looking after Paul Arnett (sic) at the moment, putting together a package of any equipment and essentials and going up to make a drop for him.

“We are also supporting Callum Fahim and his group with accommodation and other essentials.”

The remaining money would be used to support rescue teams, Miss Duncan said, as well as “her own family’s expenses while we stay in Tenerife looking for our boy”.

Speaking to Sky News after the statement, Mr Fahim, who is in his twenties, insisted: “I have not received anything from the GoFundMe.

“We were not paid for our basic necessities.

“I have never received any money from them or even offered to go and pick anything up.

“If they offered it, personally I would say maybe a bit of a treat at the end of the week, but don’t worry about it.”

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But Mr Slater’s family disputed his account and said he initially agreed to have his name included in the statement, which appears to have since been edited and no longer mentions Mr Fahim.

They said Mr Fahim had come “of his own free will” and “asked for help with accommodation”, accusing him of “free leave”.

“This is about Jay and he’s still missing and people are crying about money. It’s nothing to do with the money,” Mr Slater’s family said.

“We’re not sitting here doing nothing. We’re doing everything we can to find Jay. We can’t go down hill climbing by ourselves,” they said.

“We don’t want to be responsible for anyone hurting themselves.”

Mr Fahim, who had been in contact with Mr Duncan through online messages, said he and a search party, including a local hiking group, had exhausted every route Mr Slater might have taken. trace back.

One of the group, Milly, who lives on the island and knows the area well, said: “My group and I live here, we don’t need accommodation.

“We didn’t get a bottle of water. We didn’t get anything and we won’t take it. We didn’t even have a thank you.”

Mr Fahim, who along with Mr Arnott is one of several TikTokers who joined the search, said he paid for a flight to Tenerife himself.

“It’s getting out of control. The situation here is very dangerous right now,” he said. “I had death threats.

“I had a long conversation with her [Ms Duncan] and I’ve decided that I’m withdrawing.”

On Thursday afternoon, Miss Duncan addressed the speculation about the GoFundMe in a post on a Facebook group set up to help find her son.

The message, posted by her friend, read: “For those of you who are more concerned about the Gofundme page I can assure you that it has not been used so far and that our stay so far has been self-funded.

“I have proof of transactions and transfers to other people but I shouldn’t have to justify that.

“So you can make up your own mind. If any of you in this group have donated I’m grateful.”

The hunt took place in the northern village of Masca, near the latest site known as Mr. Slater, in a steep rocky area, ravines and paths.

Helicopters, drones and search dogs were deployed to find the apprentice bricklayer from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, but were unsuccessful.

Ms Duncan wrote that although the police land search – which had “every resource at its disposal” – ended, “officers will continue their investigations into why Jay traveled to the scene so far from his accommodation”.

The last place Jay Slater was known

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

After leaving the event, he got into a car early the next morning and traveled to a small Airbnb in Masca with two menwhich the police said was not “relevant” to the case.

At 8.30am on June 17, he called his friend Lucy Law, telling her he had missed his bus and 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 at “1%”, Ms Law said. Shortly after, his battery ran out and he was reported missing at 9.04am.

His last known location was in the Rural Park of Teno, 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 he went missing, telling him a bus was due at 10am – but he left on foot.

She said she drove past him “walking fast”.

The Civil Guard last Friday asked volunteers to join a new search in the Mascaise area on Saturday.

A handful of volunteers showed up to help rescue teams, and a group of 30 to 40 people were scouring a vast area of ​​rugged, hilly terrain.

Mr Slater’s family say they now plan to arrange for groups of volunteers who have experience of the terrain and know the area, and will provide food and water.

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