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William Tyrrell search: Kendall locals say their reputation was ‘trashed’

Locals of the town where William Tyrrell vanished are furious its reputation has been ‘trashed’.

A resident in the street from which the toddler went missing in the NSW mid north coast town of Kendall told Daily Mail Australia locals were angry about how the seven-year search had played out.

‘It’s a horror movie. The reputation of Kendall has been trashed,’ said Tracey, 30. 

The mother of four boys, who grew up on Batar Creek Road where police are now searching for the toddler’s remains, remembers the day William vanished.

One of her own sons was three years old at the time and when she heard a little boy of the same age had gone missing, Tracey feared it might be hers.

‘The community invested a lot of time and effort into looking for that little boy,’ she said.

‘It’s been hard for us since… The community searched and searched back then, but there’s massive fire trails and thick bush.

‘We’re coming up with our own conclusions now about what went on that day.

‘I’ve lain awake at night thinking about the fact William could have been in the bush over there all the time.’

Police examine a patch of bushland near to the house where William Tyrrell went missing in 2014 assisted by forensic graves expert Dr Tony Lowe (right)

The high intensity search of the Kendall house of William's foster grandmother is now in its fourth day

The high intensity search of the Kendall house of William’s foster grandmother is now in its fourth day

Police used ground-penetrating radar and 3D cameras to analyse nearby bushland after a digger had  removed topsoil

Police used ground-penetrating radar and 3D cameras to analyse nearby bushland after a digger had  removed topsoil

Lidene Heslop, who mounted the search by neighbours the day William went missing, has spoken with current Kendall residents about the emotional turmoil the new police search is wreaking on their lives.

Ms Heslop no longer lives in Kendall, but Tracey said the new search by police has been a hot topic of discussion among old and current residents of the street. 

‘It’s gone on long enough,’ she said.

‘It’s horrible. It’s been hard on our whole community this week.’

Kendall resident Paul Savage, who lives opposite the property from which William vanished in 2014, was under a cloud for more than two years as he was pursued and wrongly accused - but never charged - over the disappearance of the child

Kendall resident Paul Savage, who lives opposite the property from which William vanished in 2014, was under a cloud for more than two years as he was pursued and wrongly accused – but never charged – over the disappearance of the child

Kendall neighbour Vic Gunter (pictured), told Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday that it ‘seems a bit strange’ police would target the house so many years later

Kendall neighbour Vic Gunter (pictured), told Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday that it ‘seems a bit strange’ police would target the house so many years later

'It's a horror movie. The reputation of Kendall has been trashed,' local Tracey said

‘It’s a horror movie. The reputation of Kendall has been trashed,’ local Tracey said

Fellow Kendall resident Paul Savage, who lives opposite the property from which William vanished in 2014, had also commented on the impact of the case on his life.

Mr Savage’s life was under a cloud for more than two years as he was pursued and accused – but never charged – by former Tyrrell task force boss Gary Jubelin. 

He told Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday he was recovering after having his life put on hold while being wrongly portrayed as William’s killer. 

‘I have not been well, but I do hope this new lot of police can finally solve this case and find William so his spirit can be put to rest,’ Mr Savage, 77, said. 

‘I know one of the (biological) family and she’s crying, so finding the little fella can only do everyone good.’ 

Another Kendall local, neighbour Vic Gunter, told Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday that it ‘seems a bit strange’ police would target the house so many years later. 

On Thursday morning a concrete slab laid in the garage of William's foster grandmother's house was scanned by police but yielded no traces of the missing toddler

On Thursday morning a concrete slab laid in the garage of William’s foster grandmother’s house was scanned by police but yielded no traces of the missing toddler

Police are seen combing the dirt of cleared bushland in Kendall during the high intensity search for the remains of William Tyrrell

Police are seen combing the dirt of cleared bushland in Kendall during the high intensity search for the remains of William Tyrrell

An area of bushland about a kilometre from the house where William was last seen is protected as police place black plastic over the scene

An area of bushland about a kilometre from the house where William was last seen is protected as police place black plastic over the scene

Expert hydrologist Jon Olley discusses the search with a member of the NSW Police force as the search continued in Kendall

Expert hydrologist Jon Olley discusses the search with a member of the NSW Police force as the search continued in Kendall

The search for the remains of the missing three-year-old is entering its fourth day, with NSW Police promising to ‘leave no stone unturned’.

Some 30 to 40 people are helping with the search, including officers from NSW Police and the Australian Federal Police, as well as Rural Fire Service volunteers.

On Thursday morning a concrete slab laid in the garage of William’s foster grandmother’s house was scanned by police.

Specialists from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) brought in a ground penetrating scanner (GPR) to examine the underside of the slab.

The AFP’s Forensic Imagery & Geometrics team is looking for any abnormalities under the slab which bounce an image off the machine’s radar.

But on Thursday afternoon police said scanning of the slab yielded no traces of the missing toddler. 

Ground penetrating radar scans of the slab’s surface in the garage revealed only ‘clean data’. 

William’s foster grandmother passed away earlier this year aged 88. 

Police said if they detect something of interest, or ‘an anomaly’ underneath the floor, they would bring in the dig’s archaeologist Penny McArdle and graves expert, Dr Tony Lowe. 

William was last seen on the balcony of the foster grandmother's home in September 2014, with police investigating the theory he may have fallen to his death

William was last seen on the balcony of the foster grandmother’s home in September 2014, with police investigating the theory he may have fallen to his death

NSW Police are seen supervising the clearing of bushland around the Kendall property where missing toddler William Tyrell went missing in September 2014

NSW Police are seen supervising the clearing of bushland around the Kendall property where missing toddler William Tyrell went missing in September 2014

He was last seen on the balcony of the foster grandmother’s home in September 2014, with police investigating the theory he may have fallen to his death.  

The garage is directly below the 5m verandah from which William possibly fell.   

On Wednesday police also turned their attention to an area of bushland about a kilometre from the house where William was last seen.

A mechanical digger was used to remove the topsoil, and officers were using ground-penetrating radar and 3D cameras to analyse the ground.

Expert hydrologist Jon Olley and archaeologist Dr Lowe also remain on site.  

On Thursday morning former homicide detective Gary Jubelin, who was initially in charge of the case, defended his handling of the investigation.

Mr Jubelin was removed from the case after four years’ work.

Police Commissioner Mick Fuller this week said the new investigation team had ‘inherited what was a bit of a mess’.

Retired detective Gary Jubelin (right) interviews Kendall resident Paul Savage (centre) during the initial investigation of the Tyrrell case. Mr Savage was later cleared as a person of interest in the investigation

Retired detective Gary Jubelin (right) interviews Kendall resident Paul Savage (centre) during the initial investigation of the Tyrrell case. Mr Savage was later cleared as a person of interest in the investigation

Mr Jubelin took issue with this, saying he provided monthly progress reports to his superior officers detailing everything – ‘what suspects I was targeting, what the future directions were’.

He admitted he had formed a friendship with William’s foster parents and believed the foster mother to be ‘a very decent human being’.

He said he went hard when investigating the couple.

‘I basically ambushed the (foster) parents and then I interrogated the (foster) parents,’ he told Sydney radio 2GB on Thursday.

Mr Jubelin eliminated them as suspects after a covert operation that included placing a listening device in their car.

‘At the time I was taken off the investigation … I was certainly of the belief that they were not involved,’ he said.

There is no suggestion that any of the foster parents were involved in the disappearance of William. 

He investigated all theories, including that William had died in an accident, but he said any theory had to be backed up with facts.

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