Cover Image: Missing William Tyrrell

Missing William Tyrrell

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Member Reviews

Having read most of Caroline Overington’s works of fiction I was keen to read this non-fiction account of the disappearance of William Tyrrell. Like most Australians I was aware of the case but had only gleaned the overall story, it occurring on the other side of the country. Caroline’s account, although no new evidence was exposed, pulled the story together in a calm & rational manner. She looked at the case from different perspectives & showed equal sympathy for both William’s biological & foster families. She illustrated what a difficult situation it was for both families & showed compassion in her telling of the story. I am glad I read the book as it gave me greater knowledge of the case, but am saddened that we still do not know what happened to William & his families haven’t had the closure they need.
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“There has been some criticism of police, for searching the bush, the drains and the dams for too long, without considering the possibility that something sinister may have happened to William. That is a harsh verdict: the most likely explanation was that he was lost.”

Three-year-old William Tyrrell disappeared from his foster grandmother’s home in Kendall, NSW, Australia on 12 September 2014. Caroline Overington is an award-winning investigative journalist who has thrown herself into the William Tyrrell disappearance case with passion and commitment. She has a podcast, The Nowhere Child, which you can find wherever you get your podcasts.*

There were many stumbling blocks facing the police and media who were trying to figure out what happened. This little boy was fostered with his sister in a home in Sydney, but the family had driven north to visit the foster mother’s mother, “Nana”, as the kids knew her, in a peaceful, rural setting.

When William disappeared, suddenly after running around the corner of the house, pretending to roar like a tiger, everyone assumed he’d run off into the thick bush that was everywhere in the area. Kids do. They find hidey-holes and make little cubby houses under the bushes. So everyone was looking for a little boy in a fire-engine red Spider-Man suit.
My Goodread review includes a photo captioned: William Tyrrell in his Spider-Man suit, roaring like a tiger

But nobody was allowed to know any of the real details for “privacy reasons” for years.

“For three years, nobody had been allowed to know that William was a foster child. And there was no real reason for the cover-up. FaCS [Family and Community Services, a state department] found it hard to let go. They appealed to a higher court, but they lost there, too.

They lost because the courts could see what the Department could not: Forcing the media to publish inaccurate information is wrong. Forcing the NSW Police to lie to the public is wrong. Pretending that William wasn’t a foster child, when everyone who loved him knew otherwise? It was a mistake that had to be fixed.”

Until then, the foster parents were referred to as the real parents, while the real parents, who had stayed in touch, were ignored and not always kept up to date with progress. The case has been big news for many years. Different police officers have been in charge of the investigation and there have been countless (to me) suspects and people of interest.

It’s the kind of story that makes you scared to let a child out of your sight. It’s a difficult read but fascinating, especially to anyone who’s followed the case in the news, which was very confusing.

Overington has done a good job of tying together as many of the threads as possible, moving back and forth in time in a way that makes good sense. We meet several people “of interest” early in the piece, so that when they turn up during the investigation, it’s not a complete surprise. Our opinions are pulled one way, then another, as people are ruled in or out.

The inquest is going on now, 6 years after William disappeared, and the author reminds us that this is not a macabre thing. This is a way of reigniting interest in the case and of stirring some consciences of people who may have been a little suspicious of a partner or friend and who might now be encouraged to come forward.

I read recently that an aged care worker has told the Coroner’s Court that a resident, who was very distressed told her shortly before he died that he had helped a friend with the kidnap.

“Deputy state coroner Harriet Grahame today revealed the inquest would resume in Sydney from October 6 with four days of hearings. . . . . . . 1 June 2020, 9News”**

The number of people involved and affected is staggering. The families and police and investigators are not giving up. I fully expect Caroline Overington to continue her coverage, too.

Thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for the preview copy from which I’ve quoted.

*This is the Apple podcast link.
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An interesting account of events on the day little WIlliam disappeared and the subsequent (on-going) police investigation. The author presents facts, newspaper reports and interviews in a sensible and non-sensationalist way however it still feels weird to read about a relatively recent case that hasn't yet been solved. Heartbreaking.
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Most Australians will be aware of the case of William Tyrrell, the three year old boy who went missing on September 12th 2014 from Kendall, a small town on the NSW mid north coast. Fostered with his sister since he was nine moths old, William was by all accounts was a happy, outgoing boy who was thriving in his foster home. He was visiting his foster grandmother when he disappeared while playing in the garden while his foster mum and grandmother were sitting on the deck. Wearing his favourite spider man costume, he was pretending to be a tiger, jumping out and roaring at his family. His foster mum took a photo of him shortly before he ran around the side of the house where he was out of sight for only a few minutes before his foster mum went to see what he was doing. In that short time he had disappeared without a trace.

Police and the local community searched the nearby bush extensively without luck. Police also ruled out the involvement of either the biological family or the foster family in William's disappearance and then interviewed hundreds of people looking for someone who had either abducted William or accidently killed him and covered it up. To this day, despite an intensive police investigation, publicity campaign and offer of a million dollar reward for information, no one knows has come forward with any information of what happened to William.

Based on the interviews and evidence presented in her popular podcast Nowhere Child, award winning journalist Caroline Overington has put together a very clear account of the search for William and the ongoing police investigation, despite it being a complex story. She has presented the facts in a non-sensational way backed up with good research, but also compassion for William and his foster family, as well as his biological family who she felt were not kept well informed by police and ignored by the public campaigns. She has also explained the complexities of the foster care system that made some aspects of this case difficult for the public to understand. Currently William's case is being heard by the coroner, but is on hold due to the corona virus pandemic. His family and the police still hold on to the hope that he could be alive or that his remains will one day be found.
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Thanks #netgalley for the ARC im exchange for an honest and fair review. A very thorough book about the very sad unsolved case of little William Tyrrell. For many of us he will forever be known as the little boy in the spiderman suit who went missing whilst playing in the garden with his sister. A particularly haunting book for any parent to read. It delves deeper into the families both William's foster family and his biological parents and extended family and how he ended up in the foster system. Whilst also answering the questions a lot of the Australian public had as to why do much information was withheld at the time of the initial investigation. It also delves into possible suspects and the eyewitness who saw William that day being driven away by a lady driving erratically in a car. The anguish of everyone who knew William is felt in this book. Hopefully one day this case is solved and whoever is responsible for his disappearance is brought to justice.  #carolineoverington #missingwilliamtyrrell #tea_sipping_bookworm #goodreads #litsy #bookstagram #bookqueen #greatreads truecrime #amazon
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This was a fantastic book which had great insight to the Tyrell case. It's an important novel that explores the possibilities of what happened the day William Tyrell went missing. 

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this E-book to review via Netgalley.
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