Police leading search for William Tyrrell’s remains say they are ‘very happy’ with progress


Police searching for William Tyrrell’s remains have uncovered evidence which has encouraged them to keep going as they push to lay charges over the boy’s disappearance.

In an update to media on Friday morning, NSW Police Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Bennet said the search, now in it’s 12th day, was likely to be extended, but they were ‘very happy’ with what had been found so far. 

He said Strike Force Rosann detectives were determined to prosecute over the boy’s disappearance, more than seven years ago from a house in Kendall on the NSW mid north coast.

‘That’s definitely our focus,’ Detective Chief Superintendent Bennet said.  

The search is set to be extended by up to three weeks, due to weather setbacks. 

‘It is obvious to all of us that we couldn’t have picked a worst time in terms of weather,’ Det Chief Super Bennett said. 

‘The weather has been atrocious pretty much since we started. The coroner has been kept appraised of our progress. 

A police diver searches a dam for any trace of missing three-year-old, William Tyrrell

A police diver searches a dam for any trace of missing three-year-old, William Tyrrell

‘It is painstaking, it’s difficult. We are very happy with the progress so far and we are very comfortable with where we’re at, but no great milestone to report today except to say that the search may well be extended beyond our initial time-frames.’  

‘Numerous [items] have been seized which have been progressed forensically… and the progress of those results have been submitted to the coroner to assist with the inquest.’ 

Det Chief Superintendent Bennett said he was confident the police operation would collate enough evidence to allow the coroner’s inquest to continue.

“I’m very confident of the Strike Force (Rosann) getting a body of evidence and information together to report to the coroner, to continue to the inquest, and the coroner will deal with that information as she sees fit,’ he said. 

‘We don’t know what happened to William Tyrrell as we stand here now.’ 

This dam, which is about a kilometre from William’s foster grandmother’s house, is believed to have been searched in the initial hunt when he disappeared

This dam, which is about a kilometre from William’s foster grandmother’s house, is believed to have been searched in the initial hunt when he disappeared

Two police divers emerge from the water after a search of a dam in Kendall on the NSW mid-north coast

Two police divers emerge from the water after a search of a dam in Kendall on the NSW mid-north coast

Police search one of the dig sites off Batar Creek Road near the Kendall property from where William disappeared in September 2014

Police search one of the dig sites off Batar Creek Road near the Kendall property from where William disappeared in September 2014

The boy disappeared from his foster grandmother’s home at Kendall on NSW mid-north coast in September 2014.

Yesterday, police divers searched a dam for any trace of the missing boy,

Police have been intensively searching around the home as well as nearby bushland, enduring a week of persistent rain.  

Forensic anthropologist Penny McCardle arrived at the edge of the dam shortly after yesterday’s dive started to supervise as the men bobbed in the water.  

This dam, which is about a kilometre from William’s foster grandmother’s house, is believed to have been searched in the initial hunt when he disappeared. 

The body of water leads to a creek where on Tuesday police found three items that were bagged and sent for forensic testing. 

The specialist officers first arrived at the Batar Creek Road dig site on Wednesday afternoon, where they inspected a rainwater tank at the home where William was last seen.

A GoPro-style camera fitted to a pole was lowered into the tank to film what was inside, while a group of officers watched via a monitoring screen.  

A day after being named as the next commissioner, Ms Webb said the team of 30 police involved in the search had been joined on Wednesday by specialist police divers, who inspected a septic tank and a water tank on the Kendall property.

The divers donned wetsuits and scuba gear to search a small dam on Thursday.

The search continued as the incoming NSW Police commissioner promised ‘we’re not going to give up’.

“We need to find William and get this resolved,” Deputy Commissioner Karen Webb said.

Ms Webb says she’s confident there will be a result in the case but it will take time.

“It’s a long laborious search and obviously the weather conditions up there at the moment are unfavourable but police will pursue that no matter what,” she told Sydney radio 2GB on Thursday.

“I’m confident this team will keep pursuing this until we get a result.

“We need to find William and get this resolved.”

Specialist officers inspected a rainwater tank at the former foster grandmother's home where William was last seen

Specialist officers inspected a rainwater tank at the former foster grandmother’s home where William was last seen

Police are seen on the eleventh day of the search for any remains of the boy near the Kendall property

Police are seen on the eleventh day of the search for any remains of the boy near the Kendall property

Hydrologist Professor Jon Olley (left) chats with police as the rain-sodden search continued

Hydrologist Professor Jon Olley (left) chats with police as the rain-sodden search continued

More than 15 tonnes of soil have been taken to a lab for forensic analysis as a result of the new search

More than 15 tonnes of soil have been taken to a lab for forensic analysis as a result of the new search

More than 15 tonnes of soil have been taken to a lab for analysis but Ms Webb said she was not aware of any DNA being detected.

“There’s been miles and miles of material and many exhibits taken that will be examined but that takes time.”

The search is expected to continue for at least another four weeks.

Fresh information sparked a renewed police search, and they’ve spent the last 10 days digging and sifting through the soil at three locations along Batar Creek Road. 

Last week, police also revealed they were investigating whether William fell from the balcony at his foster grandmother’s home to his death.

A specially trained cadaver dog was brought in to search underneath the home for evidence, the garden bed has been dug up and a concrete slab laid in the garage of the home was scrutinised by the Australian Federal Police using a ground penetrating scanner.

The AFP’s Forensic Imagery and Geometrics team looked into any abnormalities under the slab by bouncing an image off the machine’s radar.

The search for the remains of William Tyrrell is expected to continue for at least another four weeks

The search for the remains of William Tyrrell is expected to continue for at least another four weeks

Last week, police also revealed they were investigating whether William fell from the balcony at his foster grandmother's home (pictured) to his death

Last week, police also revealed they were investigating whether William fell from the balcony at his foster grandmother’s home (pictured) to his death

One of the sites police also dug up was once a riding school for the disabled where the little boy’s foster mother drove to on the morning he vanished. 

She told police she drove down Batar Creek Road looking for William on the morning he disappeared and stopped at the riding school to let a car behind her pass, taking a moment to make sure he wasn’t nearby.   

William was playing at his foster grandmother’s house with his sister, and was wearing a Spiderman suit at the time of his disappearance in September 2014.

For seven years it was believed William had been abducted from the property but on November 15, after receiving new evidence, NSW Police commenced the new search at the Kendall property and surrounds for what it said were the remains of the boy.

Inside the privileged life of William Tyrrell’s foster mother as she reveals why she hates THAT Spider-Man suit photo

By Candace Sutton for Daily Mail Australia 

As a wealthy professional from Sydney’s north shore worth several million dollars, William Tyrrell’s foster mum yearned for little in life.

But there was always something missing – a child and family of her own. 

In recent times, William Tyrrell’s foster mother has been an enthusiastic tuckshop mother and cheerful presence at her daughter’s primary school in an exclusive suburb.

The 56-year-old, who strenuously denies NSW Police allegations she was involved in the toddler’s 2014 disappearance, also worked on the school’s parents and citizens association.

She wanted William to grow up being ‘socially aware, a good contributor to society and is happy and is fulfilling … doing the things he wants to do’.

She and the boy’s foster father are careful about children’s nutrition and access to fast food.

But en route to Kendall they would allow William to eat at McDonald’s, Heatherbrae, the halfway point, where the three-year-old was captured on CCTV the day before he disappeared. 

She and William’s foster father have experience in real estate and property, and according to a police statement by William’s late foster grandmother were assisting  in the sale of the Benaroon Drive, Kendall house on the fateful trip on which the boy vanished.

The foster mother said that taking in children as foster parents was something she and the foster father had always wanted to do

William instantly bonded with his foster father after being taken from his biological parents aged seven months and placed with the wealthy north shore couple

William instantly bonded with his foster father after being taken from his biological parents aged seven months and placed with the wealthy north shore couple

The foster mother’s parents were respected, community-minded residents of the tiny town of Kendall and were involved in a heritage group on the NSW Mid North Coast.

William’s foster mother is also regarded as a solid contributor to her north shore community. 

They sold the five-bedroom house with a swimming pool where William had lived  from early 2012 until his disappearance for more than $4million last year.

The couple have since bought a four-bedroom low rise worth more than $2million. 

More than a decade ago when the couple did not have children of their own, they embarked on the lengthy process of being approved as foster carers.

William's foster mother does not like the Spider-man suit image of William which has become synonymous with his case, saying it is a 'bittersweet' reminder of the lost boy

William’s foster mother does not like the Spider-man suit image of William which has become synonymous with his case, saying it is a ‘bittersweet’ reminder of the lost boy

The foster parents were careful about William's nutrition, but allowed him (above) a fast food stop at McDonald's at the halfway point en route to Kendall the day before he vanished

The foster parents were careful about William’s nutrition, but allowed him (above) a fast food stop at McDonald’s at the halfway point en route to Kendall the day before he vanished

The foster mother said caring for kids in need of a safe and loving home was ‘just something we’ve always wanted to do’.

The parents went through a working with children check, interviews with social workers about why they wanted to foster a child, and an examination of their capacity to keep a child safe.

They were questioned about their understanding of abuse and neglect, their response to dealing with children’s behaviour resulting from neglect, and their willingness to protect a child’s identity and culture.

The foster parents successfully cleared all those hurdles and in 2011 were approved as carers of children on short term orders.

But they wanted to foster children on long term orders, which would mean they would act as the parents of children in the custody of the Minister for the former Department of Family and Community Services (FACS). 

They fostered a couple of children short term before being granted seven-month-old William Tyrrell in 2012.

William bonded with his foster father almost immediately, was slower to take to his foster mother but not long before he vanished had started calling her ‘Mum’.

He was a boisterous and energetic child and his sometimes unruly behaviour with other children at child care became of concern the foster mother. 

But she later said she and the foster father had been ‘incredibly fortunate to have William come into out lives’. 

‘As foster carers you look after the children that you’re asked to look after, loving the children for who they are,’ she told the ‘Walking for William’ podcast. 

‘You don’t make choices about who you love and who you don’t love. With children they’re just so innocent.

‘We took our role very seriously to provide a loving caring supportive home for him. and do the best thing by him that we could possibly do.’

The foster mother purchased a camera and began compiling annual ‘photo books of what we do as a family every year’.

The photo of William in his Spider-Man suit on his foster grandmother’s Kendall deck that would become a proof-of-life image for police was just one of many photos intended for the foster parents’ 2014 family photo book.

On that September 12 morning, a Friday, the foster mother had encouraged William and his sister to hand draw messages to leave on their late grandfather’s grave.

The foster grandfather, who had been born in the Netherlands and was called ‘Opa’ by William, died aged 84 in February 2014.

The foster mother had intended taking family photos of William placing a drawing on Opa’s grave, which is in Kendall cemetery on a ridge above the Benaroon Drive house. 

The foster mother now says she’s not fond of the photo of William in the Spider-Man suit.

The Benaroon Drive house from which William vanished in 2014 (above) has been the subject of the latest high intensity search by police for traces of the missing toddler

The Benaroon Drive house from which William vanished in 2014 (above) has been the subject of the latest high intensity search by police for traces of the missing toddler

Photos of William playing on his foster grandmother's deck were meant for a family photo book, but ended up as proof of life images examined by police

Photos of William playing on his foster grandmother’s deck were meant for a family photo book, but ended up as proof of life images examined by police

‘It’s bittersweet,’ she told ‘Where’s William Tyrrell’. 

‘I actually don’t like looking at that photo.’

The foster father said his reactions to the image were ‘mixed … seeing his face, the joy of play but also it also means I feel like I have lost … I feel like he’s lost the opportunity for everything’. 

The foster mother described the connection between William and his foster father as ‘incredibly special’. 

‘I’m not saying this to detract from the relationship he had with his biological parents,’ she said, ‘because I think that’s incredibly precious and special.

‘But (it was ) .. just fabulous to watch’. 

William’s biological parents had been seeing him every month, but as he became a long term placement that access was reduced to bimonthly.

The birth mother said in a police statement she had been told that the foster mother and her husband were not comfortable meeting her and the birth father.

On one contact visit supervised by Ben Attwood from the Salvation Army, the birth and foster mother passed each other, but they never met.

The birth mother said in her police statement that she worried about William being ‘a bit too skinny’.

William Tyrrell's birth mother (above) last saw her son on an access visit in August 2014 when she noticed he was 'more affectionate than usual' and cuddled her rather than racing around

William Tyrrell’s birth mother (above) last saw her son on an access visit in August 2014 when she noticed he was ‘more affectionate than usual’ and cuddled her rather than racing around

William's birth father (above) last saw his son at the Chipmunks Playland at the Macquarie CVentre in North Sydney in August 2014

William’s birth father (above) last saw his son at the Chipmunks Playland at the Macquarie CVentre in North Sydney in August 2014

‘I don’t want to come across as if I’m blaming them or being mean, but it’s just been really hard,’ she said about losing William, who she still hoped would be returned to her care.

‘Up until the beginning of the year William called me Mum. The last time I saw William he didn’t really call me anything. 

‘The visit before he called me his “birth mum”.’

The last time the birth mother and father saw William was on August 21, 2014 at the the Chipmunks Playland at the Macquarie Centre in North Sydney, from 10am until midday.

Mr Attwood had warned the birth mother before the visit that William had a black eye.

He had been climbing up as the foster mother was having a cup of tea with a friend and had fallen on a piece of furniture.

On this final occasion, the birth mother said, William was ‘more affectionate than usual’ and ‘happy sitting on my lap and giving me a cuddle’.

Willliam was deemed a long term placement in the care of the FACS Minister in April 2013. 

Unbeknown to the birth parents, the foster parents had spoken with their Salvation Army foster caseworker about applying to the NSW Supreme Court to formally adopt William.

The foster parents were preparing for a massive renovation of their north shore house to make their ‘forever home’, after obtaining DA approval by Ku-ring-gai Council in July 2013.

The home renovations included a new bedroom that was meant for William.

In July 2014, they took William to Bali on a holiday and it was there they bought the Spider-Man obsessed toddler his blue-and-red Spider-Man suit. 

The family returned to Sydney in early August and William was attending day care at a north shore child centre.

The foster mother, who has a sister and two brothers, had intervened in a minor squabble between two of her siblings over property stored at her mother’s Kendall house ahead of its proposed imminent sale.

The foster mother was working from home on the day before William vanished, her husband out having meetings with clients or colleagues, when they made a snap decision to get their cats boarded for the night, grab William and head up to Kendall a day early. 



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