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

Jay Slater’s family has responded to a TikTokker calling off the search for the missing teen, saying: “We don’t need walkers, we need experts.”

Callum Fahim, who went to Tenerife After contacting the 19-year-old’s mother online, he told Sky News he had backed down after two weeks of searching and death threats.

He said he and his group have not seen a penny of the money raised to find Mr Slater and that they plan to return to the UK on Thursday.

Mr Slater’s family told Sky News his mother Debbie Duncan had given Mr Fahim £740 of her own money for housing, 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 likely cost thousands of pounds, but they had to wait for permission from the authorities.

“We appreciate everyone who came,” they said.

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

Mr. Slater was last heard from on June 17, after he was on his way to his accommodation, a journey of approximately 11 hours.

Police the hunt on land was called off on June 30 after 12 days, but Ms 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 fund the search for her son – which has raised almost £50,000 – Mrs Duncan thanked Spanish authorities and supporters.

She said some of the funds will be used to support volunteers hunting for Mr Slater in the mountains – but Mr Fahim told Sky News he has not received any money.

With reference to Mr Fahim and another TikTok user who flew to Tenerife to help, Mrs. Duncan wrote: “We are currently in the process of taking care of Paul Arnett (sic). We are putting together a package with all the necessary equipment and supplies and are going up to drop him off.

“We also support Callum Fahim and his group with accommodation and other necessities.”

The remaining money would be used to support rescue teams, Ms Duncan said, and also to cover her family’s “own expenses while we remain in Tenerife looking for our boy”.

Speaking to Sky News after his statement, 20-year-old Fahim said: “I haven’t received anything from the GoFundMe yet.

“Not even the most basic necessities have been paid for.

“I’ve never received any money from them and they’ve never offered to pick anything up.

“If they had offered, I personally would have said, maybe a little gift at the end of the week, but don’t worry.”

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Mr Slater’s family disputed his story, saying he had initially agreed to have his name included in the statement. That statement appears to have been edited and Mr Fahim’s name is no longer mentioned.

They said Mr Fahim had “come of his own accord” and “wanted help with accommodation”, accusing him of wanting a “free holiday”.

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

“We’re not sitting here idle. We’re doing everything we can to find Jay. We can’t go down and climb the hills ourselves,” they said.

“We don’t want to be responsible for someone who hurts themselves.”

Mr Fahim, who has been in contact with Ms Duncan via online messages, said he and a search team, including a local walking group, had retraced all the likely routes Mr Slater could have taken.

One of the group members, 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 wouldn’t accept it. We didn’t even get a thank you.”

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

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

“I had a long talk with her [Ms Duncan] and decided I would withdraw.”

On Thursday afternoon, Ms. Duncan responded to 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 to date and we have self-funded our stay so far.

“I do have evidence of transactions and transfers to other people, but I do not have to justify this.

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

The hunt in the northern village of Masca, near Mr Slater’s last known location, involved a steep rocky area, ravines and trails.

Helicopters, drones and sniffer dogs were used to try to find the apprentice bricklayer from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, but without success.

Ms Duncan wrote that although the search by police – who “used all available resources” – has ended, officers will “continue their investigation into why Jay travelled so far from his accommodation to the location”.

Last Known Whereabouts of Jay Slater

On June 13, Mr Slater travelled to Tenerife with friends 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, according to police, were “not relevant” to the case.

At 8.30am on 17 June he called his girlfriend Lucy Law and told her he had missed the 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 at “1%”, Miss Law said. His battery died shortly afterwards and he was reported missing at 9.04am.

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

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

Ofelia Medina Hernandez says she spoke to the teen at 8 a.m. the day he disappeared and told him a bus would arrive at 10 a.m., but he left on foot.

She said she later passed him “walking quickly.”

The Guardia Civil last Friday volunteers wanted to take part in a new search in the Masca area on Saturday.

A handful of volunteers arrived to assist the rescue teams, forming a group of 30 to 40 people who searched a large area of ​​rugged, hilly terrain.

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

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