HomeWilliam Tyrrell search: Foster parents say they have ‘nothing to hide’

William Tyrrell search: Foster parents say they have ‘nothing to hide’

The foster mum who has emerged as a person of interest in the disappearance of William Tyrrell previously declared the couple had “nothing to hide”.

The foster mother who has emerged as a person of interest in the disappearance of William Tyrrell previously declared the couple had “nothing to hide” and had been thoroughly investigated by police and even the target of covert surveillance.

“We have nothing to hide. We gave them everything. They took our laptops,’’ the foster mother said.

Despite public questions as to why police did not probe the foster parents earlier, police who worked on the case say that is simply not the case and in fact the family was closely looked at and brought in for questioning.

In a podcast by Channel 10 investigative journalist Lia Harris, the couple conducted extensive interviews about their case and their distress that Detective Gary Jubelin was taken off the investigation.

Mr Jubelin also investigated the foster parents, bringing them in for separate extensive interviews with “no warning”, according to Harris, and then putting a listening device in their car to hear what they spoke about on the way home.

“They said nothing incriminating,’’ Harris said.

The foster mother has previously declared she had nothing to do with William’s disappearance and while upset at the time that police treated her like a suspect, she ultimately understood it was simply part of the investigation to clear them of involvement.

The Coroner’s Court recently subpoenaed notes and interviews related to Harris’ Channel 10 podcast Where’s William Tyrrell including discussions with the foster parents about the case.

Being a person of interest does not necessarily suggest William’s foster mother is a suspect.

The foster mother has not been arrested or charged in relation to William’s disappearance.

Who are the foster parents?

William Tyrrell’s foster mother is a wealthy professional from Sydney’s north shore. She is now 56 years old.

On the day that William went missing she was visiting the home of her mother in Kendall, NSW, when William suddenly disappeared in the middle of a game.

The foster mother and the foster grandmother were sipping tea on the ground floor back deck when the mother suddenly declared she couldn’t hear William and called out for him.

But police investigations have now turned to whether William could have fallen from the upper deck on the other side of the property.

The couple have led public campaigns asking “Where’s William?” for years calling for public information on the case.

But when The Daily Telegraph reported in September that NSW Police had zeroed in on a new person of interest, the foster family issued an angry statement.

“Imagine waking up to an unsubstantiated article published by a large media outlet claiming a ‘senior officer’ within NSW Police shared that they have a NEW person of interest, whilst inferring that this case is on the brink of being solved,” the couple said on the ‘Where’s William’ website.

“Once again we are forced to watch others objectify William for personal gain … fake news causes more heartache for William’s loved ones.”

What happened on the day William Tyrell disappeared?

On September 11, 2014, William Tyrrell, 3, his five-year-old sister and his foster parents travelled four hours from Sydney to visit his foster mother’s mother in Kendall.

The home on Benaroon Drive is directly across the bushland road from the Kendall State Forest.

The next morning, September 12, 2014, his foster parents say William woke early in the same room as his foster father.

The three-year-old insisted on wearing his Spider-Man outfit despite the pleas of his foster mum to wear a singlet.

“He didn’t want to wear a singlet, so the compromise was he’d wear a Spider-Man T-shirt underneath his Spider-Man clothes,’’ she said.

Around 9.15am, William’s foster father left the house to find better reception for an important work phone call.

He headed for town to make a Skype call, and go to the chemist.

At 9.37am, William’s foster mother took three photographs of the boy.

The photographs capture William in a Spider-Man suit without his shoes on his grandmother’s veranda scattered with crayons.

According to police, his foster mother reportedly said he was wearing shoes to protect his feet from bindiis and dog droppings. But according to The Daily Telegraph, police are now investigating whether there were bindiis at the home and whether the family dog was dead.

William is barefoot in the photographs.

Around 10am, William’s foster mother said she went inside and made tea for her and her mother, and sat with the boy on the back veranda.

Police estimated William disappeared between 10.05am and 10.20am.

About 10.30am, William’s foster father texted his wife to say he was returning home after buying newspapers nearby.

But by this time, the foster mother said she was already looking for William.

She told her mother: “I can’t see William”.

The foster mother began frantically knocking on neighbours’ doors.

“You could tell she was very distressed when she first came to us,” a neighbour told The Sunday Telegraph.

“I just remember saying ‘Don’t worry, we’ll find him,’ and that has stuck with me because obviously they didn’t find him.

“I waited with her while she called the police.”

Before her husband returned home, the foster mother leapt in the foster grandmother’s car to search for William.

“I get to the riding school and I just think, ‘he’s not here’,” she told police at the time.

“Then I bring the car back up and I just run out and look for him again.”

This week, that car was seized by police and is undergoing forensic testing.

In a police “walk through” video at the grandmother’s house, the foster father outlines what happened next when he came home.

“He never wanders. He’s not a wanderer. He’s not like … doesn’t do it. And so, when you follow this, I had then gone through, I’d gone through these fences … and continued, looking everywhere I possibly could,’’ he said.

“I then said … ‘well, where is he? Where has he gone?’ She said, ‘he was here five minutes ago’. I said ‘well where has he gone?’ … She said, ‘I can’t find him’.

Why William’s foster status remained a secret for years

The fact that William was in foster care remained a secret for several years after he disappeared and was only revealed to the public after a legal challenge and a judge’s ruling that the disclosure was in the public interest.

“The truth to date has been obscured,” Justice Paul Brereton said.

The three-year-old was taken from his biological parents as a toddler after allegations of domestic violence and drug use.

First cop in charge of investigation retired

When William first disappeared it was treated as a missing child. Hundreds of searchers trampled all over the backyard, potentially destroying evidence.

But then Detective Inspector Hans Rupp was brought in to lead the investigation. Just months after the investigation began, the respected homicide detective retired.

That’s when former detective chief inspector Gary Jubelin was brought in to investigate. But a few years later, he was forced to resign over misconduct allegations.

He was later convicted of covertly recording four conversations with one of the foster grandmother’s neighbours Paul Savage and was fined $10,000.

The investigation has thus been plagued by politics and controversy for years.

This week, that only increased after the NSW Police Commissioner criticised the previous investigations.

“The investigation was looking at some persons of interest that were clearly not, and I think some time was wasted on that, and bushland is overgrown,” Commissioner Mick Fuller told 2GB.

“A new team inherited what was a bit of a mess, and have cleaned up that investigation.”

Tragedy ‘destroyed’ biological father

William’s paternal grandmother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said the tragedy had destroyed her son, the boy’s father.

In the years after his son went missing he had been in and out of jail and became estranged from his family.

“He’s homeless,” she said. “I don’t know where he is. I heard from him once when he got out, I felt so bad because he had nothing.”

According to one report, the boy’s father had begged a chemist for prescription drugs telling them, “I need them (pills) because I lost my son seven years ago”, and began to cry.

“Look what the tragedy has done to me, look what it has done to my son,” his grandmother said.


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