The Mysterious 2014 Disappearance Of William Tyrrell

The following article contains details regarding the disappearance of a child and discusses child abuse.

On September 12, 2014, 3-year-old William Tyrrell disappeared in New South Wales (NSW), Australia (via Where's William?). The Guardian explains that at the time, the boy was wearing a Spider-Man suit and was playing in his foster grandmother's home in a town called Kendall. When his foster mother could no longer hear him, she went to check up on him but William was gone. She stated, "It was only a matter of a few minutes ... I don't understand how he could disappear so quickly." 7News reports that an extensive search was done in the area and investigators theorized that William had likely been kidnapped.

To this day, William's foster parents have chosen to remain anonymous, per the Daily Mail. Kidspot reports that he was in foster care because his biological mother used drugs. In 2016, the NSW Police announced a $1 million reward for information regarding the boy's disappearance. The statement noted that, "If you know something, there are now a million reasons to come forward." It goes on to say that police have received a plethora of calls regarding tips and alleged sightings, but that have all led to dead ends. Additionally, the department noted that they had looked into "hundreds of persons of interest." Despite this, 7News writes that William has still not been found.

The search for the boy continues

Eight years after William's disappearance, 7News reported that Strike Force Rossan, the unit created to investigate his disappearance (via The Guardian), is still continuing its search efforts. According to The New Zealand Herald, the NSW police revealed in late 2021 that they were once again going to search the Kendall area where William went missing. This was after they revealed that new information about the disappearance had "come to light." Investigators, however, did not reveal the particulars of the situation. That being said, the NSW police explained that at this point in time, it is not expected that they will find William alive (per ABC News).

Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Bennett stated (via ABC News), "It's highly likely that if we found something it would be a body. We are looking for the remains of William Tyrrell, no doubt about that." Per a separate article from ABC News, investigators later showed a renewed interest in William's foster grandmother's home, of whom the publication states was now dead. A car belonging to the woman was seized by police and the home's septic tanks were inspected. Radars were also used.

Nevertheless, it's unknown if this search provided any evidence in regard to the toddler's disappearance. That being said, The Guardian writes that it took years for this to occur due to the original theory that William was kidnapped or had simply become lost. Now, it seems that investigators believed that something more sinister happened to the boy.

The shocking claims made by two children

According to Kidspot, one person of interest in William's disappearance is a convicted pedophile named Frank Abbott. Abbott lived near the Kendall area at the time that William vanished. The Daily Mail writes that he is currently in prison for sexually abusing three children. Moreover, the publication notes that Abbott had a child that died when he was 3 years old; the same age that William was when he disappeared. The circumstances regarding Abbott's son's death, however, are unknown. Abbott was also reportedly acquitted of a murder that occurred in 1968. 7News reports that a babysitter later revealed that the two boys she was caring for had told her that Abbott had indeed killed William.

7News goes on to explain that the children told their babysitter that they saw Abbott holding a suitcase with William's remains inside. Abbott buried the suitcase and threatened the boys. Furthermore, Abbott's friend, Ray Porter, confessed that he drove Abbott and William miles away just a day after the boy went missing (via Kidspot). Although he does not have an alibi, Abbott has denied that he had anything to do with William's disappearance.

Per the Daily Mail, another person of interest in the case was Bill Spedding. He later sued the state of NSW for malicious prosecution (per Yahoo News Australia). He was eventually ruled out as a suspect but claims that the investigation ruined his reputation and his mental health.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

The new theory surrounding his disappearance

In November 2021, Police Commissioner Mick Fuller disclosed that there was a development in the case and that, "There is certainly one person in particular that we are looking closely at ... " (via Yahoo News Australia). The person, however, was not named. This news came shortly after it was announced that the Kendall home where William had disappeared from was going to be thoroughly searched. According to The Guardian, investigators were looking into the possibility that William fell from the home's balcony. Per 7News, police theorized that if this was the case, it would have killed him. Investigators were later seen digging up the home's garden with cadaver dogs also on the scene.

Soon after, 9News states that William's foster mother was named as a person of interest. Kidspot reports that his biological mother (who has not been named for legal reasons), believes that William's foster parents are at fault for his disappearance. She stated, "Where else could he be? Just let him come home. Please. It's not fair. This isn't fair ... " (per Kidspot). The foster mother said that she doesn't have anything to hide. Even so, the Daily Mail writes that the foster mother tried to prevent the public from knowing that William was her foster son and not her biological child. She cited her belief that this knowledge would hurt the investigation.

His foster parents have been hit with abuse claims

News Australia reports that in November 2021, William's foster parents were charged with the assault of an unnamed girl. According to 9News, the foster parents allegedly kicked the girl, grabbed her by the neck, and hit her with a wooden spoon. The Guardian writes that the foster mother kicked the girl in the thigh which caused "pain, discomfort, and bruising." Both the foster mother and father were additionally charged with stalking and intimidation. It's also alleged that the foster mother said that she would rub the girl's face in feces if she defecated on the floor.

Per 7News, the foster parents pleaded not guilty to the charges. However, the Daily Mail notes that there are 10 witnesses along with surveillance video to back up these allegations. The pair later attempted to get the case thrown out, citing the foster mother's mental health (via another article from 9News). The Guardian explains that the foster mother was diagnosed with depression and PTSD. Despite this, the court rejected her request. William's foster parents will face these charges in court in January 2023 (per The New Daily).

His foster parents have been charged with providing misleading evidence

7News writes that the abuse allegations are only the beginning of William's foster parents' legal issues. In April 2022, the pair was also charged with providing "misleading evidence" in the investigation into William's disappearance (via The Guardian). The NSW police allege that the foster mother gave the NSW Crime Commission information that she knew was false. William's foster father has also been charged with a similar crime and pleaded not guilty.

Per ABC Australia, it was likely that the foster mother was going to plead not guilty as well. The publication notes that the maximum sentence for these charges is five years. Since William's disappearance, there have been more than 600 persons of interest. The New Daily reports that in 2022, the boy would be 11 years old. As of yet, no one has ever been arrested or charged with his disappearance. Although the foster mother is a person of interest, The Sunday Morning Herald explains that this means nothing unless William's body is found.