The NSW Premier is hopeful of an imminent breakthrough in the case of missing three-year-old William Tyrrell who disappeared seven years ago.
Dominic Perrottet said the signs and reporting from the police investigation were “very encouraging” and police were doing a “phenomenal” job.
“I want to thank the police for the work they are doing and I think I can speak on behalf of everyone right across our state – we have been heartbroken by this entire story,” he said on Wednesday.
It came as police revealed on Wednesday afternoon that a 56-year-old woman and a 54-year-old man had been charged over the alleged assault of a child as part of the investigations into the missing boy.
“As part of ongoing investigations under Strike Force Rosann, detectives from the homicide squad received information relating to the suspected assault of a child at a home on Sydney’s Upper North Shore,” a statement said.
“They were each charged with common assault.”
Both will appear in Hornsby Local Court next Tuesday. No further details were available.
Earlier in the day, there was a flurry of activity on the William Tyrrell search ground on the NSW mid-north coast on Wednesday afternoon, when police thought they might have uncovered a key piece of evidence after they dug up a collection of red threads.
The cloth was immediately compared to fabric from a Spider-Man suit, similar to what William was wearing when he was last seen in September 2014. There are some reports the threads were placed in an evidence bag and set aside – although a police spokesman also told watching media the item was unrelated to the search for the little boy.
On Wednesday morning, NSW Police confirmed they had seized a car linked to the case. The grey Mazda was seized from a home in Gymea in Sydney’s south, under a coronial order.
Police confirmed early on Wednesday the car had been seized 375 kilometres from the home in Kendall, on the NSW mid-north coast, from where William vanished while playing with his sister.
“A vehicle is undergoing forensic examination after recently being seized by Strike Force Rosann detectives,” NSW Police said in a statement.
“The vehicle was taken to a secure facility, where it is undergoing extensive forensic examinations and analysis, which is expected to take several weeks.”
The car once belonged to William’s foster grandmother, who lived at the Kendall home. She died earlier this year.
The ABC is reporting that police believe the car might have been used to transfer William’s body from the house.
On Tuesday night, forensic teams sprayed the chemical luminol outside the Kendall home as they searched for traces of blood.
On Wednesday, federal police brought in ground-penetrating equipment, X-ray devices and a concrete-penetrating radar as the search continued at the property.
They are also searching an area of bushland about a kilometre from the home. Trees have been felled and a cadaver dog brought in. That is also where the mysterious threads were found on Wednesday afternoon.
Police have repeatedly said they expect to find remains – if the search is successful.
Hundreds of officers, SES volunteers and NSW Rural Fire Service personnel are involved in the renewed search, which is expected to last up to three weeks.
On Wednesday morning, NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon said investigators would “leave no stone unturned”.
“As it’s an ongoing investigation and things will unfold daily, it’s inappropriate for me to talk too much about it. We’ll release information on the investigation as it’s appropriate,” he said.
“Can I say the NSW Police will not stop until such time as we have investigated every possible lead.”
Police are focusing on one “person of interest”, but have refused to reveal much more information.
Earlier, NSW Police Minister David Elliott was asked about a report that police were investigating whether William died after falling from a balcony at the Kendall house.
“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 gives closure to the families and community.”
A $1 million reward for information on the case still stands.