Nine years after William Tyrell, then three years old, went missing from his New South Wales home, police are seeking to make an arrest.
Detectives now allege William’s foster mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, tampered with evidence and obstructed justice in an attempt to conceal his death, and have recommended charges be laid. They do not believe she was responsible for his death.
In a brief presented to the Department of Public Prosecutions, detectives from Strike Force Rosann — tasked with investigating Tyrrell’s disappearance — allege William died as the result of an accident, and his foster mother allegedly covered up the death by hiding the body.
No charges have been brought at the time of publishing, and William’s foster mother maintains she has nothing to do with William’s disappearance.
If you’re confused by what’s happening, you’re not alone. Here’s what we know about the William Tyrrell case and the new developments.
What Happened To William Tyrrell?
William Tyrrell disappeared from his foster grandmother’s home in Kendall on the New South Wales north coast in September 2014.
It was originally reported he was playing in the yard with his sister, 5, when he disappeared between 10:00 and 10:25 in the morning while his grandmother went indoors to make some tea.
After reportedly looking for Tyrrell, William’s foster mother called emergency services to report the disappearance at 10:57am.
The toddler, who would now be 12, is presumed dead by investigators. Authorities also previously alleged they “knew” the body was dumped in bushland near to the grandmother’s house.
In late 2021, the Strike Force Rosann squad spent more than four weeks searching bushland and creeks near to the grandmother’s home. They also dug up parts of the yard. No remains have been found.
What Did William Tyrrell’s Foster Mother Do?
As of June 2023, police allege William’s foster mother concealed evidence by hiding his body after an accidental death.
Police have alleged she hid the body in bushland nearby the Kendall home, and subsequently covered up his death.
Details of how Tyrrell is presumed to have died have not been made public.
William’s foster mother has since released a statement through her lawyers, asking police to reveal any evidence they have against her.
“The foster mother and her legal representatives call for disclosure of the evidence which police suggest forms the basis of any criminal proceedings,” Marsdens Law Group said in a statement.
“To date, William’s body has never been found.
“The foster mother has always, and maintains, she has nothing to do with William’s disappearance. She desperately urges the police to resume the investigation into finding out what happened to William.”
Has William Tyrrell’s Foster Mother Been Charged?
Not at present.
The decision to press charges (or not) against William’s foster mother, per Strike Force Rosann’s recommendations, now lies with public prosecutors, who will determine whether there is enough evidence to do so. The Sydney Morning Herald adds that the Department of Public Prosecutions would need to be satisfied a conviction is likely, based on the available evidence, prior to pressing charges. It would also need to find the prosecution is in the public interest.
The DPP has not made any suggestion yet as to whether or not charges will be laid.
If the DPP decides not to press criminal charges, ABC News reports the case will be referred back to the Deputy State Coroner, Harriet Grahame. It is assumed Grahame would hold further hearings on the matter to determine next steps.