ActivePaper Archive DID WILLIAM FALL FROM THE BALCONY? - The West Australian , 11/17/2021

DID WILLIAM FALL FROM THE BALCONY?

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Top cop reveals detectives only looking at ‘one person’ of interest in Tyrrell investigation

Police are investigating if William Tyrrell died after falling from a balcony, as the rural NSW home where he was last seen alive remained the focus of a detailed search for his remains on Tuesday.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller confirmed there had been a significant breakthrough in the case, saying he was confident his officers would solve the mystery of the boy’s fate.

“My understanding from the investigators is that there is certainly one person in particular that we are looking closely at,” he told Sydney’s 2GB radio.

That person has been reported as being William’s foster mother. She is one of the hundreds of people who have been investigated over the past seven years.

Meanwhile, William’s sister has been taken out of the care of the same foster parents. Police have taken out an apprehended violence order on behalf of the 11-year-old girl and officers will allege in court she was assaulted earlier this month.

The 2014 disappearance of the boy in the Spider-Man suit baffled police and left the entire nation wondering what had happened to him.

William’s sister and foster mother told investigators the girl had been playing with him on the back deck of a home in Kendall, NSW, when he roared “like a tiger”, before running around a corner and vanishing.

NSW Police Minister David Elliott said police would not confirm reports they were investigating whether William died after falling from a balcony.

“With a mysterious incident like this, every single option has to be investigated, every scenario has to be reviewed and tested,” Mr Elliott said.

“Let’s hope whatever the conclusion is (it) gives closure to the families and community.”

On Tuesday, police searched under the balcony of the home where William disappeared, owned by the youngster’s foster grandmother. The woman, who was aged in her late 80s, died in March.

Police also have dug up the garden of the home. They used cadaver dogs to comb it and a mechanical sift was used to examine dirt.

About a kilometre away, police also dug up bushland with the help of Rural Fire Service volunteers. Officers are using groundpenetrating X-ray technology and a polylite spray which is capable of showing blood and DNA.

Mr Elliott said the $1 million reward for any information that helped solve the case was a “useful tool” and added the RFS volunteers “are experts in managing the ground, in identifying any soil that may have been moved, in any ground that’s been disturbed, and that’s what they are looking out for”.

Mr Fuller said his “officers have been working tirelessly to get to this point where we are searching land, again using the best technology available”.

“They inherited what was a bit of a mess and have really cleaned up that investigation and they have clear strategies, and one of those is going back to Kendall,” he said.

Mr Elliott said the “inherited mess” would probably be subject to an internal police review, but the focus should be “on drawing this matter to a conclusion”.

In 2019, Det-Insp. Gary Jubelin was removed as the lead investigator over internal conflicts about the probe’s direction.

His replacement, Det. Chief-Insp. David Laidlaw, went back to the drawing board with his own theories of what happened to William.

The latest search comes after police received information that William’s remains may be in the area, with State crime command director Det. Chief-Supt Darren Bennett detailing the renewed search efforts and “operational activity” under Strike Force Rosann on Monday.

William’s case was put back in the spotlight in early September when police confirmed “new information” was being investigated, but at the time detectives did not elaborate on what that involved.

His foster parents strongly criticised that report.

The findings of a coronial inquest into William’s disappearance, which concluded last year, are yet to be handed down.