In the latest twist in the three-year investigation into the disappearance of young William Tyrrell, it has been revealed the toddler was in foster care when he disappeared from a Kendall home on the NSW mid-north coast.
A Current Affair on Thursday publicly revealed that William was in foster care when he vanished from his foster grandmother’s garden on September 12, 2014, after the NSW Court of Appeal ruled against restricting publication of the detail.
The court found it was a matter of “legitimate public interest” to report that the boy was the responsibility of the Department of Family and Community Services, according to court documents.
The three-year-old was wearing a Spider-Man costume on the day he went missing. He would now be six years old.
And in the wake of the latest bombshell, news.com.au revealed on Friday that a woman, reportedly William’s biological mother, had used social media site Facebook three years ago to post grieving messages.
The woman posted photos of herself pregnant, and in October 2016 shared a photo of William as he was when he went missing and a computer-generated image of what he might have looked like at age five.
The department attempted to restrict the release of the information, but the Court of Appeal sided with a Supreme Court judge’s ruling it could be reported.
NSW Supreme Court judge Justice Brereton said it was important for the out-of-home-care system to be scrutinised.
Sadly, Justice Brereton also noted “the tragic probability that [William] is no longer alive”.
He rejected the possibility the release of the detail could infringe on the police investigation.
“The notion that the efforts of trained and experienced police investigators might be distracted – presumably by an influx of pseudo-information in the nature of rumour and speculation – is quite unconvincing,” he said in the judgement, according to A Current Affair.
Channel Nine made clear in its report there is no suggestion that either William’s biological family or foster family were involved or responsible for his disappearance.
William and his foster parents were visiting Kendall, south of Port Macquarie, from Sydney when he vanished from the garden.
Police and up to 200 volunteers scoured the area in the days following his disappearance.
Further searches over the years have found no trace of the boy.
His foster parents have kept their identity private, and have remained hopeful William could still be found alive.
“If somebody has him, and if he is alive, I want him to be safe. I want him to be feeling love. I want someone to be looking after him,” the foster mother said.
On the second anniversary of his disappearance last September, NSW Police announced a $1 million reward for information leading to William’s whereabouts.
Police have examined the possibility William fell victim to a paedophile ring. There have been hundreds of persons of interests throughout the investigation.
Anybody with information which could assist police with their investigation is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.