A 'sneaky, complex' abductor and a car: What we've learnt from the William Tyrrell inquest.

You’d be hard pressed to find an Australian who doesn’t immediately recognise the iconic photo of a little boy in a Spider-Man suit with his mouth open in pure joy “roaring” at his foster mum behind the camera.

This photo has been in our headlines, and splashed across our TVs since September 2014, and five years later it’s still being urgently pushed under our noses.

Why? Because little William Tyrrell is still missing.

Here’s what William would look like aged six. Post continues after video.

Video by Seven

A coronial inquest is currently looking into the three-year-old’s disappearance, but there’s no forensic evidence and no known eyewitnesses which is what makes the case so hard to unpack.

William vanished while playing in the garden of his foster grandmother’s home in the small New South Wales mid-north coast town of Kendall.

As the inquest combs through the dwindling evidence, two Australian podcasts are capitalising on the timing of the story being at the front of the public consciousness again. Nowhere Child by The Australian and Where’s William Tyrrell? by Ten are both making sure the little boy remains front of mind.

“The present state of evidence is if William was murdered – and that’s a big if – it may be one of those rare, three per cent of cases,” counsel assisting the coroner Gerald Craddock SC told the inquest this week.

William Tyrell search
The three-year-old went missing in 2014. Image: Supplied

Mr Craddock said William was likely taken by car and police remained of the belief they could solve the case.

"The offender is a sneaky, complex offender who has hidden their desires for some time and has chosen to act on those desires," he said.


In 2018, during a fresh investigation of the case, police intensely searched more than 40 hectares of bush immediately surrounding the foster grandmother's home.

The inquest was told toys, backpacks, shovels, animal bones and a speargun were among the items uncovered - but none were deemed to be related to three-year-old's mysterious disappearance.

Mr Craddock said people treated the forest as a convenient place to dump all manner of things.

Detective Sergeant Laura Beacroft, who helped organise a new land search in 2018, said she understood that was the first time police were looking for evidence of deliberate human intervention and not just signs of misadventure.

"My understanding was it was a new notion," she said.

william tyrell2 edit
If alive, William would be be eight years old. Image: Supplied.

Another police officer involved in the search, Senior Constable Daniel Dring, agreed no stone was left unturned in the search area during the 20-day search by dozens of police and other emergency services personnel.

"I trust the team and I trust the method and I am extremely confident William was not in the area," Snr Const Dring told the inquest.

Convicted criminals and police detectives would be among about 54 witnesses to give evidence during the hearings in Sydney and Taree until August 30, Mr Craddock said.

He stressed any suggestion that those called to give evidence were suspects was "simply wrong".

"This is an inquest and not a criminal trial," he said.

"There has not yet been a conclusive breakthrough (in the police investigation), otherwise someone would have been charged and we wouldn't be here."

The inquest resumes today.

A $1 million reward remains in place for information leading police to the whereabouts of William.

With AAP

Listen to The Quicky debrief on the truth about William Tyrrell's parents, and what happened after the three-year-old's disappearance.