Three-year-old William Tyrrell vanished from a Kendall home in 2014. Photo / Police Media
A leading Australian criminologist has pointed out a string of “highly unusual” aspects of the William Tyrrell case which has captured the nation’s attention once again.
Speaking on Sunrise on Thursday morning, former detective and criminologist Dr Terry Goldsworthy said the new developments in the Tyrrell case indicated the investigation now had fresh momentum.
“Investigations are broken down into stages, so I will just walk you through them,” he began.
“We have the first stage, where most of the evidence is, the body is, the initial assessment stage, where police are looking for witnesses and forensic material, examining the crime scene and finding valuable evidence.”
Next was the “investigation stage”, which is “where the heavy lifting is done in terms of getting information for the investigators, getting to a high information state”.
“That moves into looking at the modus operandi, how the offence may have occurred, and who may have the motive to do the offence,” Dr Goldsworthy continued.
“I think what we’re seeing now is moving into targeting … stage, coming to the end of the investigation, and you can go back at any point in time and reinvestigate new information such as additional crime scenes.”
When asked by host David Koch what was likely going on behind the scenes in the investigation, Dr Goldsworthy said he believed police were carrying out a “highly unusual” but deliberate strategy.
“I think what we have seen is a number of different lead investigators in this job, those fresh eyes are always useful because you can go back and look and see if anything has been missed,” he said.
“The detail in regards to the shoe is an important detail, it may not be a linchpin but it is an important one, (but I) think there are a number of strategies for the police, the physical searches, and also a strong media strategy going on.
“Some of the commentary I have seen from senior police in terms of ‘we have one suspect’, is highly unusual to make those kind of comments before there has been any remains found or anything like that.
“I think it is being done for a reason.”
Dr Goldsworthy also said he believed it was “unusual” that the original investigation and team had been discredited.
“I thought it was a bit of a poor choice, to be honest, those things are usually dealt with internally, you do not go out and publicly put that info out there,” he said.
“I was surprised that went on.
“In terms of dealing with the family (during) these investigations, there should be a family liaison officer appointed who is separate from the investigation, and the reason they are separate is clearly you do not want investigators becoming too close to the family for fear that they may overlook something, or may not pick up on something, or may not pick up on something.
“That is why there is an independent role there.”
Meanwhile, the renewed search for William has moved away from the home where the 3-year-old was last seen seven years ago, with police now expected to focus their efforts on a nearby patch of bushland.
Carloads of officers began arriving at the site just before 8.30am on Thursday morning.
A truck carrying wheelbarrows was unloaded and officers began removing branches and debris from the site.
Parts of the search area remain covered under tarps, with blue markers seen scattered about the ground.
Police descended on a home in Benaroon Drive, Kendall, on the NSW mid north coast, this week where William’s now-deceased foster grandmother lived when he went missing.
Multiple reports suggested police were working on a new theory that William may have fatally fallen from the balcony of the home.
Officers were seen searching the area directly below the balcony, removing plants from the garden and sifting through the dirt.
Luminol, a substance that shows traces of blood, was sprayed in the area and a cadaver dog was also seen combing through the garden bed.
Yesterday afternoon, the focus of the search shifted to a small patch of bushland on Batar Creek Rd, a few minutes from the foster grandmother’s home.
Two pieces of degraded material were found at the search site yesterday afternoon, with officers seen comparing the pieces to samples of a red and blue Spider-Man suit – the same outfit William was wearing when he disappeared.
A police spokesperson later told reporters that the items were unrelated to the case, though they were both taken away in evidence bags.
The renewed search efforts are expected to take between two to three weeks, with hundreds of officers checking new locations and using different types of search methods. Police confirmed earlier in the week they were looking for the young boy’s remains, the first time they have publicly suggested they do not believe he is alive.
William was playing with his five-year-old sister in the yard at his now-deceased foster grandmother’s house on Benaroon Drive, Kendall, on the NSW mid-north coast on September 12, 2014, when she suddenly couldn’t find him.
He was 3 years old at the time and wearing a Spider-Man costume.
The Daily Telegraph has reported police are now focusing their attention on William’s foster mother as the key suspect in his disappearance.
Both she and the boy’s foster father were on Wednesday charged with assaulting a child, who is not William.