Four years after he disappeared from the front yard of his grandmother’s house on the New South Wales mid-north coast, police are back at the street where William Tyrrell disappeared in a last-ditch search before a possible coronial inquest.
On Wednesday about 50 officers began searching a three square kilometre stretch of bush around the Kendall home where William was last seen in 2014 wearing a Spiderman outfit.
Det Ch Insp Gary Jubelin told media in Kendall on Wednesday that police held “grave, grave fears” about William, who was three when he disappeared.
“It’s been a very long time,” he said. “As I’ve said to the family, and I can’t be any more honest than what I say to the family … until we know conclusively that William is not alive we’ll treat it with the possibility that he still is alive. But obviously we have grave concerns.”
The return to the street from where William first disappeared – and the renewed search – is likely to lead to a coronial inquest if no new information is unearthed.
Police are focusing on proving that William’s disappearance was “the result of human intervention and not through misadventure”.
“The difference between this search and the search that was done originally [is that] the original search was focused on finding a little boy lost,” Jubelin said.
“The search commencing today, which we anticipate will take between three to four weeks, will be focusing on a forensic search.
“The purpose of this is that if we present evidence to a court, whether coronial or criminal, [we can show] beyond reasonable doubt that William’s disappearance was the result of human intervention and not through misadventure.”
Jubelin believes there are people in community who know what happened to William, and on Wednesday he said police had received about 15,000 pieces of information, and had a number of persons of interest.
“A matter goes to an inquest if we can’t solve [it] from a criminal perspective [and] we’re keeping our minds open to that,” he said.
“But I want to also stress that we have numerous lines of inquiry, including persons of interest. We’re going to fully exhaust those before the matter goes to the coroner.”