Police have concluded their search at the home of a tradesman on the NSW mid-north coast in the investigation into the disappearance of toddler William Tyrell.
Homicide detectives and forensic police arrived at the Bonny Hills home of William Harrie Spedding on Wednesday with heavy machinery, including an excavator and septic truck.
The three-year-old toddler went missing from his grandmother’s home at Kendall, 20km from Bonny Hills, on September 12.
Mr Spedding, 63, and his wife Margaret were questioned by police and gave DNA, but were released without charges.
Police also searched the office of a Laurieton pawn shop on Tuesday, believed to belong to the Speddings, and seized a mattress and a computer.
Mr Spedding allegedly gave a quote to fix a washing machine at the Kendall home a few days before William vanished.
Forensic specialists combed the grounds of the Bonny Hills property for evidence, including a maze-like structure underneath the house, according to Nine News.
Reports reveal that Mr Spedding regularly posted on social media about the search for the toddler, and joined the local community’s call not to lose hope in finding William.
“Don’t give up looking…” he posted on Facebook last month.
Days later he posted a link to the “Bring Little Spiderman (sic) William Tyrell Home” page and wrote “where is he?” Fairfax Media reports.
Late last week a caravan at the same town was also inspected in light of reports an infant was heard crying around the time William disappeared.
Superintendent Paul Fehon denied police had made a major breakthrough in the three-year-old’s disappearance, noting no one has been charged so far.
“We searched a number of premises in the Laurieton and Bonny Hills area yesterday as part of the ongoing investigation and the search for young William,” Supt Fehon said.
“I don’t describe it as a major breakthrough. This is a line of inquiry we’re taking as part of the normal investigation phase.
“Forensic examinations will continue at those premises.”
Additional police and specialist search teams have been brought to the area.
Supt Fehon said William’s family was being kept informed.
“This is an active investigation,” he said.
“If anyone as any information, please call Crime Stoppers.”
Spedding “would never hurt a fly”
Family members of Mr Spedding defended him on social media, saying the felt sick about the media coverage.
“My uncle I love him his (sic) innocent, he would never hurt a fly,” Mr Spedding’s niece posted on Facebook.
“People need to stop saying stuff about him and personal details about him on media …”
Another relative said she felt “sick and upset”.
Lisa Maree Gaffney said she knew Mr Spedding and had spoken to his wife and grandchildren many times.
“His boys r (sic) typical little boys … always polite and well looked after,” she wrote on Facebook.
The search continues
Local police and the Sex Crimes Squad are involved in the investigation and it is understood that it is pursuing the possibility of abduction.
“We don’t think he has just wandered off somewhere,” a senior officer told Fairfax Media.
New South Wales Police released a statement saying that they are speaking to a number of people as part of their enquiries.
According to Fairfax, a local employee said police had spent most of the day searching the premises.
“They’ve been here all day from what we could tell – just forensic people here all day,” the man, who did not wish to be named, said.
“They left this afternoon and took a whole lot of things with them,” he said.
“The detectives have been in and out all day, up and down the stairs.”
Authorities conducted a major search of the area following his disappearance, including 21 houses, surrounding bushland and waterways.
A complicated family history has made his parents hesitant to speak publicly about William’s disappearance.
Anyone with information can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
– with ABC, AAP