What happens to money donated to Jay Slater's GoFundMe page?

Slater's mother Debbie Duncan said money raised online would be used to support a specialist search team.

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Jay Slater was last heard from on the morning of Monday, 17 June while on holiday in Tenerife. (Facebook/Alamy)

The mother of missing British teenager Jay Slater has said his family are using money raised through a GoFundMe page to hire a specialist search team.

Debbie Duncan said a number of relatives have remained in Tenerife to continue looking for the 19-year-old after Spanish police called off its land search.

Slater, from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, disappeared on 17 June after leaving the NRG music festival at the Papagayo nightclub in Tenerife, which he had attended with two friends.

He had attempted to walk back to his hotel after missing his bus, a journey that would have taken 11 hours by foot.

In a statement on Sunday, Duncan said some of the money from the GoFundMe will be used to support a team who are searching for Slater in the mountains where his last phone call was tracked.

The online appeal has now raised more than £53,000.

Duncan said: “We are still here in Tenerife searching daily with the help of volunteers and local hiking groups. As you all know the Guardia Civil gave up the land search after 12 days.

Members of a search and rescue team search near the last known location of Jay Slater, near to the village of Masca, Tenerife, where the search for missing British teenager from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, continues. Picture date: Sunday June 23, 2024. (Photo by James Manning/PA Images via Getty Images)
Members of a search and rescue team search near the last known location of Jay Slater, near to the village of Masca, Tenerife. (Getty Images)

“We have been actively working with search and rescue teams and we can now confirm that we have a team of experts flying in over the weekend from the Netherlands, who will carry on the search with their specialist dogs.

“We are only able to fund this with the generosity of all those who donated. The team are the Signi Zoekhondon and this has taken lots of planning to get them over so thank you so much for your kindness.”

Mark Williams-Thomas, a police officer turned investigative journalist who fronted a TV documentary that exposed the crimes of Jimmy Savile, is aiding the family in their search and has recommended they use the fundraiser money on experts, the Lancashire Telegraph reports.

Donations flooded in after a fundraiser was set up by Lucy Law, Slater’s friend and the last person to speak to him.

Watch: Former British police investigator outlines 'two options' which may have happened to missing Jay Slater in Tenerife

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The fundraiser itself has previously come in for criticism and been linked to unfounded conspiracy theories about his disappearance, including how the money raised might be used.

Duncan has criticised online trolls comparing her to Karen Matthews, who was involved in a fake kidnapping plot of her nine-year-old daughter in 2008, telling the Daily Mail: "People keep saying on social media why aren’t I up there [helping the search] and calling me the new Karen Matthews, I just can’t face it.”

Search for Jay Slater in Tenerife.(PA)
The search for Jay Slater in Tenerife.(PA)
Search and rescue teams near to the village of Masca, Tenerife, where the search for missing British teenager Jay Slater, 19, from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, continues. Picture date: Saturday June 22, 2024.
Rescuers have been using dogs to aid their search. (Alamy)

On its website, GoFundMe provides a set of verification guidelines for users' campaigns, asking them to say who they are, who they are raising the funds for, their relationship to the beneficiary, how the funds will be spent, and how the funds will be delivered to the beneficiary.

GoFundMe told Yahoo News in a statement: "We are in touch with Jay Slater's mother, Debbie, and working with her to keep everyone updated on how their donations will be used in the search. For now, the money is with GoFundMe as we work through the next steps."

GoFundMe states that an "overwhelming majority of fundraisers on the site are safe and legitimate, as fraudulent fundraisers make up less than one-tenth of 1% of all fundraisers" on its platform.

"In the rare instance that someone does create a misleading fundraiser with the intention of taking advantage of others’ generosity, GoFundMe takes swift action to resolve the issue," it says on its website.

It says it relies on its community of users to flag suspected fraudulent cases and urges them to contact them here. Police and other law enforcement officers can contact GoFundMe here.

As soon as fundraisers start receiving money on the site, they request a withdrawal at any time, which does not affect the metre displayed on the main page showing total progress.

Users can click "withdraw" while logged into their account and follow the instructions and send the money directly to their bank account, which should take 2-5 business days to arrive.

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