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Local Residents Remember William As Inquest Begins Into Disappearance

Across the road from where William Tyrrell was last seen, the blinds have been drawn all day.

Inside, Paul Savage -- who was named at the inquest into Tyrrell’s disappearance as someone who will be compelled to testify in August -- has sat, reading and listening to the news from the first day of the hearing.

When 10 News First spoke to him through his front grill, he declined to speak on camera but said he wanted to re-iterate his message:

“I just hope he’s found … healthy," he said.

READ MORE: Court Shown Heartbreaking Video From Scene Of William Tyrrell's Disappearance

Savage has lived in Kendall for years. It’s a town of just over 1000 people on the New South Wales mid-north coast.

But they’ve all been defined by the fate of just one person -- a little boy who came to visit his foster grandmother here four years ago, and never went home.

Three-year-old William was last seen in his now famous Spiderman suit, playing with his brother on the lawn . The inquest on Monday heard he was playing the “daddy tiger”, roaring as he climbed trees.

But when his roars fell silent, his foster mum realised within minutes something was terribly wrong.

William Tyrrell went missing from Kendall in NSW on September 12, 2014.

Monday’s inquest heard new leads. His mother was visiting and had noticed two cars parked together, one close behind the other, on the road opposite her mother’s home.

“She didn’t see anyone in the cars … to city dwellers, seeing a couple of aged, unkept cars parked on the street is a common place thing … but Kendall is a sleepy village,” Gerrard Craddock, counsel assisting, told the inquest.

“Whilst physical searching was being undertaken, police were also asking residents about their neighbours and their visitors.”

READ MORE: William Tyrrell: Details Of What Police Believe Happened To Be Made Public 

The search for William immediately focused on dense bushland next to his foster grandmother’s house, but locals on Monday said they believed early on he was not there.

Peter Kelly joined the search, remembering;

“It was a pretty good response pretty quickly."

“Most of the local people were convinced that we had to do the search but that he probably wasn’t in the immediate area,” he said.

“Just the nature of the bush around there. It’s not the sort of bush that we’d consider a little kid would ever like to walk off into."

Police searching search for evidence of missing boy William Tyrrell, near Bonny Hills on the NSW mid-north coast in March 2015.

The posters appealing for help to find William still hang on most shopfronts.

Inside the general store, longtime resident Don McClimont said “it would be good when this was all over".

“I don’t like the word closure but we certainly need it."

Across the road, Miss Nellie’s Cafe is packed with out-of-towners from Port Macquarie. Its owner, Jenelle Nosworthy, was keen to make the distinction - this mystery happened IN Kendall, not TO Kendall.

“It’s been going on now for just over four years and I think anyone that comes in Kendall has an interest in it,” she said.

“The town itself is very close-knit and especially when a child is involved.

“You can always think the worst and hope for the best and that’s definitely what we are all doing."

Featured image: AAP/NSW Police