Unless you’ve been living under a rock – or outside of Australia – for the last few years, you’ve probably heard of the case of William Tyrrell. Maybe you’ve seen his photo in the news; that iconic image of the young boy dressed in a Spider-Man suit caught mid-roar, beaming with joy. But what exactly happened to this missing boy on that fateful September day in 2014? How could a three year old boy completely disappear from his grandparent’s home without a single trace? And how is he still missing?
On the 26th of June, 2011, William Tyrrell was born. Unfortunately for young William, his family life was far from simple. Both parents – who remain unnamed for legal reasons – suffered from substance abuse and were described as having a ‘troubled’ marriage. His older sister – who also remains unnamed – had already been taken away due to these family difficulties and had been living in different foster homes ever since. Not much has been said about this family’s ‘troubled’ behaviours, but whatever had been occurring appeared to have a profound effect on the life of William. Before long, authorities had begun speaking about placing William into care.
Terrified at the thought of loosing yet another child, William’s biological parents took William and ran. After six weeks of hiding, William was found safe with his parents at his grandfather’s home in Sydney.
In March of 2012, when William was not even a year old, both him and his older sister were placed into the care of the same foster parents. These two foster parents, alike many in this story, remain unnamed due to the complications of the fostering process. Both William and his sister took a relatively fast liking to their new parents, with William developing an especially close bond with his foster father.
The biological parents continued to spend time with William once a fortnight under the watch of authorities. According to all involves, the biological parents themselves included, William’s biological parents had never spoken to the foster parents, nor attempted to seek them out. William’s foster parents also never harboured any hard feelings towards William’s biological parents, insisting that he keep up routine visits to uphold the bond with his biological family.
(Pictured) William Tyrrell’s foster parents
The Day Of
On Thursday the 11th of September, William’s foster parents made the last-minute decision to take a surprise drive up to the country town of ‘Kendall’ to visit William’s Grandmother, picking up both William and his sister from school on their way. The two were overjoyed, never having known about the family’s plans. The drive itself took around three hours from Sydney to Kendall, including one stop at a Caltex service station and another at a McDonalds. It was late, about 9pm, when the family arrived at the Grandmother’s home in Benaroon Drive, Kendall. William’s grandmother, having only been informed of the visit the moment the parents left, was reportedly ill and hadn’t been able to prepare for the family’s visit. The parents set up two separate rooms for each of the children, then set them off to bed.
(Pictured) William’s Grandmother’s Kendall home.
The next morning, William woke up early with his father. They both turned on the television and watched a children’s show, attempting not to wake the rest of the house. However, it didn’t take long before William’s sister, mother and grandmother were also awake. Excited about their new bicycles, the two siblings were adamant to go outside. William, dressed in his Spider-Man suit (the same costume pictured in William’s iconic missing person’s photos, dubbing him ‘The Boy in the Spider-Man Suit’) and his sister then rode around their grandmothers’ spacious backyard.
Between 9 and 9:30am, William’s foster father found himself having to make the drive to Laurieton to make a business call via Skype, escaping Kendall’s notoriously bad internet connections.
During this time, William had raced back outside with his foster mother and grandmother, bursting with energy. William and his sister had begun playing a game of dice, each sibling jumping the amount of times the dice commanded. Once that game was over, William had begun playing a game of tigers, racing around the yard ‘roaring’ with his mother. William, still full of energy, ran out into the grass to continue his games.
After a short amount of time, only a couple of minutes, had passed, William’s foster mother noticed she hadn’t heard William for a little while. She went out to look for him, panicked. She held hope that William’s foster father might’ve dropped by, picking him up to take him for a drive. Maybe William had run down to greet his father, something both him and his sister had a habit of doing. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case.
William’s foster father arrived home to hear his son was missing. Both himself and Williams foster mother began a search for him, visiting the houses of nearby neighbours, who also agreed to look for the young William. About 20 minutes later, William’s foster mother called the police, announcing William’s disappearance.
(Pictured) Police search Bushland for evidence of William Tyrell.
Image taken from: https://www.nbnnews.com.au/2018/06/27/police-expand-bushland-search-for-william-tyrrell/
New South Wales police were quick to respond to William’s disappearance. Although they had originally suspected it was merely a case of a wondering boy, no sign of the youngster after hours of searching had lead them to believe there were far grimer forces at work, and an Amber Alert was released.
Due to the size of Kendall and the last-minute nature of the family’s decision to drive to Kendall, police began to look into William’s family – his biological family specifically.
William’s biological family had already run off with William once previously at the thought of their son being placed in temporary foster care and the biological family appeared to be again fearful of losing their son after recent talk of William’s foster family looking to permanently adopt William and his sister. However, police appeared to rule the biological family out as suspects. Not only were the two in Sydney at the time, but they had been kept away from William’s foster family and had no idea where William was being housed, let alone where William’s Grandmother lived.
William’s biological parents and Grandmother were also ruled out as suspects. They were extensively questioned and all alibies, including the foster father’s Skype call, had checked out. However, there was one line of inquiry that appeared to take the media by storm.
William’s Grandmother had mentioned a broken washing machine to William’s foster mother. William’s Grandmother had said she had made a call about the problem, but that there still hadn’t been any repairs made. The repairman finally arrived a few days before William’s disappearance.
Although it appeared to be a meaningless visit to police at first, it was later discovered that this repairman, Mr Bill Spedding, was previously accused of historical sex crimes (although these charges were later dropped). Police had searched the Spedding’s Laurieton home, but to no avail. Nothing of William’s was reportedly found. Although Spedding’s name would continue to plague media reports, falsely stating he was a convicted paedophile (an accusation proven to be false), Spedding has appeared to be dropped by police as a suspect in the case.
(Pictured) ‘Strike Force’ Officer (left) alongside suspect Bill Spedding (right). Photo from: News Corp Australia.
So What Really Happened?
To this day, the fate of the gorgeous youngster in the Spider-Man suit still remains unknown. Most have come to the conclusion that William had been abducted, but the mystery of who still continues to baffle everyone involved. With family all ruled out as suspects, it appears that the only option could be that William was a victim of an opportunistic abductor. William’s foster parents have since described a serious of cars, two which were parked out the front of their street and one which had driven into the street by an unknown person. Being a small country-town, any cars driving past the house that didn’t belong to the family could’ve been suspicious, but they also could’ve just been confused visitors – all a big coincidental passing. There have been reports of a man asking for directions to a road that passed the Grandmother’s home at a local pub – perhaps explaining the car that had ‘suspiciously’ passed the house before William went missing, but as of yet, that driver has not been publicly identified.
On the 5th of August, the inquest into William Tyrrell’s disappearance will continue.
We only hope – we all hope – to find answers for the mourning biological and foster families, and to bring justice to the cheerful, giggly William Tyrrell.
For more information, I highly recommend the podcast recently released by Chanel 10 titled ‘Where’s William Tyrrell’. It describes in-depth the family life, disappearance and investigation.
If you have any information relating to the disappearance of William Tyrrell, please contact Crime Stoppers at: 1800 333 000
Reports can be made anonymously.