A mystery item uncovered less than 1km from William Tyrrell’s foster grandmother’s home has been seized by police, as forensic experts scan a cement slab poured into the house’s garage.
The search, which investigators have admitted is likely for the three-year-old’s remains, has ramped up overnight – with the unknown object taken by police for forensic testing in hopes it could finally shed light on the toddler’s fate.
Just before 3pm on day four of the search on Thursday, police suddenly left the dig site and raced towards the forensics van parked permanently nearby.
One of the officers was clutching the special Spider-Man suit ID kit kept on site by only one detective dedicated to comparing dig ‘finds’ with the clothing the toddler was last photographed wearing.
Looking as if they were on a mission, the detectives then disappeared from sight of the onlooking media around the side of the forensic van with the page of coloured Spider-Man suit schematics.
They had picked up a mystery item, believed to be a crucial find in the desperate attempt to solve the seven year case, before carefully placing it in a container and sending it off for examination.
Images clutched by one detective show different pieces of children’s Spider-Man outfits.
Detectives are seen carrying a picture of William’s Spider-Man suit as they bring the item of interest for testing (pictured on Thursday)
The search for William Tyrrell is entering its fifth day as detectives scour his foster grandmother’s house, where he was last seen in 2014
Forensic officers hone in on an item of interest (pictured, left) while a detective (right) is tasked with comparing fragments with William’s famous Spider-Man suit
Police are seen inspecting the garage under William’s foster grandmother’s house on Thursday
This is the moment forensic experts spotted something in the bush, and sent it off for testing
They include a Spider-Man T-shirt which his foster mother told an inquest into William’s disappearance he was wearing underneath his costume that morning, because he had refused to wear a singlet.
The coloured illustrations, coupled with a swatch of red and blue Spider-Man suit fabric, were held by Detective Mark Duke from the William Tyrrell investigation’s Strike Force Rosann – as he is driven each day to the site.
Only when there has been a possible find at the dig, does Detective Duke bring out his kit to compare items.
He did so twice on Wednesday when two degraded pieces of patterned fabric were unearthed in the dirt during a surface scrape after Rural Fire Service officers cleared the pot.
Never-before-seen pictures of William were released on Thursday night (pictured) by his biological grandmother
Officers picked up a mystery item, believed to be a crucial find in the desperate attempt to solve the seven year case, before carefully placing it in a container
Police are seen gathering around a pile of soil as they uncover an unknown item on Thursday
The forensic operation is the largest seen in Kendall, where the toddler went missing in 2014, since the search first began
The dig site, one of three Rosann detectives plan on searching, is the size of two city terrace house blocks and lies on a dirt side road less than a kilometre from the Kendall house where William disappeared in 2014.
The dig site borders Batar Creek Road, along which William’s foster mother drove on the morning he vanished in her mother’s car, which police seized earlier this week.
The discovery of the first fabric find on Wednesday saw Detective Duke bringing out his Spider-Man fabric swatch to compare it and excitement was suddenly visible on the dig.
Police gave hydrologist and forensic expert Professor Jon Olley pats of encouragement and the scene was being streamed live on television prompting a phone call from NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller.
Hundreds of police officers are searching three new locations in the town of Kendall where William Tyrrell (pictured) went missing in September of 2014
Officers have been scouring every inch of the bushland, less than 1km from William’s foster grandmother’s home
A police officer is seen bagging an item of interest as the search focusses on an area of bushland less than 1km from where he went missing
Police media officers then shut down the speculation, saying the fabric was ‘unrelated’ to William.
Although initially discounted, that piece of fabric and a further scrap which Detective Duke compared with Spider-Man suit images have been sent away for expedited analysis by the NSW Coroner Harriet Grahame.
On Thursday afternoon, police and a scientist were careful not to show any emotion after another apparent find.
Graves archaeologist Tony Lowe was with the detectives and police in coveralls poring over a hole dug in the dirt.
The area was a little further away from the previous afternoon’s finds and Dr Lowe’s interest began to grow as he stared intently at something on the ground.
The dig site (pictured) borders Batar Creek Road, along which William’s foster mother drove on the morning he vanished in her mother’s car, which police seized earlier this week
Police have been searching around the foundations of William’s foster grandmother’s house (pictured)
A former military expert in recovering Australian soldiers’ remains from World War I, Vietnam and Papua New Guinean battlefields, Dr Lowe dug into the dirt with a shovel and then a small hand trowel.
Suddenly, police turned and commanded onlooking media to move back across the road from the site.
The Spider-Man images were retrieved and the five officers retreated from the gaze of the media and the cameras to the forensics van.
The results of any samples pulled from the dig site have yet to be revealed to the public, although police said on Thursday X-rays of a concrete slab at the William abduction house had shown nothing lay beneath the surface.
The targeted search for William’s remains at the three Kendall locations will continue to up to three weeks.
Police focused on the on a cement slab poured into the garage (pictured) after William disappeared
A cadaver dog (pictured) was deployed on Thursday night to inspect the area under William’s foster mother’s house
It comes as William’s biological grandmother opened up about the ‘shambolic’ police investigation into the little boy’s disappearance.
The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons surrounding adoptions, said from the early stages after the three-year-old vanished from his foster grandmother’s home she was kept in the dark by detectives.
She took aim at high-profile homicide cop Gary Jubelin, who led the investigation until he was sensationally removed from the case in 2019 after being found guilty of illegally recording a suspect.
‘The foster care people, they knew everything and we knew nothing,’ she told A Current Affair.
‘The first time I met Gary Jubelin was at the inquest. He walked past me, and I said to him, ‘that’s right, keep walking.’
William’s biological father – who is no longer be dating his mother – allegedly spiralled after the toddler went missing
Pictured: Who’s who is William Tyrrell’s complicated family tree – from his wealthy north shore foster parents to a ‘homeless’ biological dad and single mum raising his two younger brothers
Bombshell emails reveal that William’s foster parents, who are now considered person’s of interest in the case, were taking steps to adopt the toddler – even holding discussion on the morning he vanished in September 2014.
William’s biological grandmother recounted supervised visits her son and his partner would have with William before the nightmare ordeal began.
‘So, we were just having a little picnic – out jumps the foster care mother… and starts giving the kids lollipops and Kinder Surprises,’ she said.
‘So she was just like watching what’s going on. My son used to always say he was too scared to love his kids… he was too scared to love them for an hour of supervised visits.’
She said she has no idea what happened to William but painfully revealed: ‘He’s not alive. I knew he wasn’t alive for the last seven years. So, I’m just scared.’
The little boy in the Spider-Man suit was last seen at his foster grandmother’s home in September 2014
Earlier on Thursday Jubelin described the decision for police to head back to the foster grandmother’s house where William disappeared for ‘high intensity’ searches as ‘unusual’.
New developments have led investigators to property with William’s foster mother becoming a person of interest, however, the case has had hundreds of persons of interest.
Being a person of interest does not necessarily suggest William’s mother is a suspect and she has vehemently denied any involvement in his disappearance.
Jubelin said on 2GB radio that during his time working on the case he ‘ambushed and interrogated’ the child’s foster parents and formally interviewed them before ruling them out as persons of interest.
She is ‘panicked by the thought of when William is found… what that is going to do to William’s father’.
It’s understood William’s biological father is now homeless and has fallen out of touch with his family. He learned of the developments in the case via social media.
‘He’s homeless,’ William’s biological grandmother told The Daily Telegraph. ‘I don’t know where he is. I heard from him once when he got out, I felt so bad because he had nothing.’
‘Look what [this has] done to me, look what [this has] done to my son.’
Timeline of William Tyrrell’s disappearance
Still missing: William Tyrrell vanished from his foster grandmother’s home five years ago
September 12 – Dressed in a Spider-Man outfit, three-year-old William Tyrrell goes missing from the garden while visiting members of his foster family on the NSW north coast.
September 21 – Police stop searching for the missing boy after scouring surrounding bushland and neighbouring houses.
January 20 – Police search the home and business of washing machine repairman Bill Spedding, who had been due to carry out repairs at the house at the time the three-year-old went missing.
Detectives take items for testing including a mattress, computer and vehicles. They drain his septic tank.
January 23 – The washing machine repairman publicly denies any involvement in William’s disappearance and says he and his wife are on the verge of a breakdown due to the public attention.
February 19 – Homicide detectives take over the case and say it’s likely William was abducted.
March 2 – Police fruitlessly search an area of bushland near Bonny Hills for three days after a tip-off.
April 17 – William’s foster parents speak publicly for the first time in an emotional video released through police which does not identify them.
April 17 – Police say the boy may have been a victim of a paedophile ring.
September 6 – The Nine Network’s 60 Minutes reveal two suspicious cars were parked on the street the morning William went missing.
September 12 – ‘Where’s William’ week is launched one year after he disappeared.
September 12 – A $1million reward is offered for information leading to William’s return.
August 24 – William’s foster child status is revealed after a landmark court ruling.
June 12 – NSW Police announce the start of a four-week forensic search of bushland conducted by Strike Force Rosann.
June 14 – William’s grandmother scolds police who have failed to find the young boy after four years, and claims their latest search is ‘just for show’.
June 26 – The forensic search continues on what would have been William’s seventh birthday.
June 27 – Strike Force Rosann announces it will move the search to an 800sqm block of bushland just 4km from where William was last seen alive.
June 5 – The latest search ends with Detective Chief Inspector Gary Jubelin saying the case could soon go to a coroner.
August – Investigation leader Detective Chief Inspector Gary Jubelin and a sergeant get into a disagreement during a briefing.
September 13 – Police reveal they found a burned out car wreck belonging to a former person of interest.
December 19 – Coroners say William could still be alive and the inquest will determine if he died or not.
February – DCI Jubelin is removed from the investigation amid a misconduct probe.
March 25 – The inquest into William Tyrrell’s disappearance begins, with William’s biological and foster parents appearing over the course of a week.
The inquest’s first batch of hearings focused on William’s family situation and the events leading up to his disappearance.
Both his foster and biological parents were quizzed, as were neighbours who helped in the search.
It was disclosed that William’s biological parents absconded with him for six weeks in 2012, following a children’s court order.
William’s biological father slammed authorities for letting them down.
‘Authorities f***ed up … The minister had a duty of care to keep William safe until he was 18. That was not the case at all.’
May: DCI Jubelin quits the Police Force.
June: Four charges of breaching the Surveillance Devices Act are laid against DCI Jubelin. He denies any wrongdoing whatsover
August: The second tranche of inquest hearings began on Wednesday August 7
Inquest hears Bill Spedding, a NSW mid-north coast repairman and one-time person of interest in the disappearance of William Tyrrell, met his wife for coffee about 9.30am in Laurieton, a 15-minute drive from Kendall, on the day William went missing.
They then attended a school assembly across the road to see a child in their care receive an award.
The inquest heard how a man who claims he saw William Tyrrell unrestrained in the back of a speeding car on the day the child went missing was waiting for police to interview him to tell them what he saw.
He told the inquest he contacted police but did not hear back about an interview.
It took it took almost 1000 days before he was able to reveal what he saw to police.
The coroner orders an urgent probe into the final image that was taken on the day William vanished as metadata suggests the picture may have been taken 118 minutes earlier than originally thought.
The image has a ‘created time’ of 7.39am and a ‘corrected time’ of 9.37am, a new document from the 2000-page evidence brief.
The coronial inquest has been delayed for another eight months with the next round of hearings happening in March 2020.
November 11: The deputy state coroner releases footage of William Tyrrell and family at Heatherbrae McDonalds, on September 11, 2014
Feb – March 2020: Gary Jubelin defends four charges of illegally recording person of interest Paul Savage in court hearing
February 21: Daily Mail Australia reveals Frank Abbott was arrested in custody for the purposes of a police interview about William’s disappearance
March 2020: The coronial inquest into William’s disappearance resumes but stops with two days to go due to the coronavirus outbreak
April 6, 2020: Magistrate Ross Hudson delivers his verdict in Gary Jubelin case
April 8, 2020: Jubelin is convicted of all four charges and fined $10,000. Ex-cop says he will appeal
June 22, 2020: Police and SES launch new search for William Tyrrell near Herons Creek, where Abbott once lived
June 26, 2021: Police acknowledge William Tyrrell’s 10th birthday
November 15, 2021: Detectives return to Kendall after receiving new information and admit they are searching for a body. His foster parents are reported to be persons of interest in the case