William Tyrrell’s Foster Father Searched For Him ‘Every Day’, Inquest Hears
The inquest into the disappearance of William Tyrrell has continued in Sydney, with the boy's foster father the next to give evidence.
William’s foster father took the stand on Wednesday morning, going into detail about the areas he searched in the hours after he disappeared.
He told the court he followed “the path of least resistance” in searching for the toddler and continued to search “every day”.
He said he still “had hope” of finding him alive several days after he vanished.
He was excused from the witness box, and it is expected local State Emergency Service volunteers will testify in the afternoon.
Neighbour and local SES volunteer James Opdam later took the stand, and told the court in detail about the initial search conducted by residents.
He was one of the first to begin searching after spotting William’s foster father frantically looking around his house.
He told the court he organised some line searches, but described the initial search as “haphazard”, based on his previous experience in searching for lost children.
He said police did not search inside his home and vehicles until two days after he went missing, but when they did it was “very thorough”.
NSW Police Senior Constable Tim Williams, who took control of the scene on the day WIlliam went missing, and SES coordinator Paul Burg took the stand to testify together later in the afternoon.
Burg organised the line searches involving SES volunteers who came “from Coffs Harbour to Newcastle” in the days after his disappearance.
He told the court the SES volunteers searched the outside of properties, while police officers searched inside.
Senior Constable Williams, who has experience searching for missing children, told the court most are found within 20 minutes of police arriving.
He said he immediately spoke to William’s foster mother at the scene to determine William’s behaviour, and noted he “engaged in fantasy play”, which was relevant in organising a search for him.
He then ordered multiple line searches in the surrounding area.
The court had earlier this week been shown a heartbreaking taped interview with the boy's foster father at the scene of his disappearance from Kendall, on the NSW mid-north coast, in September 2014.
The video shows his foster father, who cannot be identified, walking an investigator through the frantic moments after the disappearance, before telling him “he never wanders, he’s not a wanderer”.
“I was thinking so many things all at once... I need to cover as much ground as I possibly can,” he told the investigator.
During his opening address, Gerard Craddock SC told the Coroner’s Court there is “no direct evidence” to suggest William is dead, but “I expect the evidence will suggest William was abducted”.
He also told the court “William didn’t disappear because he was in foster care” and said “there is no doubt each of the (birth) parents was in Sydney” at the time.
The inquest will run for five days this week, before resuming for four additional weeks in August.
It will include testimony from all the witnesses, investigators and persons of interest involved in the case, which have never been made public.
William’s foster parents, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, will be present every day of the inquest and will be called to give evidence about what happened on that day.