A major development in the inquest into William Tyrrell’s disappearance has seen a neighbour recall seeing a boy wearing a Spider-Man suit being driven away at speed by a woman on the day the youngster vanished.
William disappeared at the age of three from Kendall, New South Wales, on September 12, 2014. He was playing with his sister at his foster grandmother’s house at the time, and was last seen wearing a distinctive Spider-Man suit.
Now, according to multiple reports, a man who lived just streets away has revealed in an inquest that he’s “100 per cent” sure he saw a young boy in a suit matching the same description on the same day – claiming he was in the back of a car that was being driven erratically by a woman in her late 20s or early 30s. The man, named as Ronald Chapman, 80, did not give the statement to police until weeks later.
Chapman reportedly told the inquest on Wednesday that he heard a loud noise and assumed it was a delivery arriving at his door. However, when he went outside he saw a car travelling south from Benaroon Drive – where Tyrrell was staying – at 10.45am on September 12. He claimed he saw a boy in the backseat of the “old box type 4WD”, wearing the superhero suit.
“It was coming from Batar Creek Road … heading east,” Chapman said, according to 7 News. “The car was being driven around the corner at a speed. I heard gravel … she was almost in the drain ….. that’s what made me look up.”
“She had taken the corner too fast and that’s what almost put her into the drain,” he added. He went on to describe the woman as having a fair complexion, with her hair tied up in a bun on top of her head. He claimed she was wearing a white short-sleeved blouse at the time.
Describing the boy he saw, Chapman claimed he was standing and had his hands up to the window but was unrestrained and wasn’t crying. Chapman reportedly also alleged that a second car, a blue sedan, was following at speed behind the car too.
“I did utter a profanity under my breath about the woman being stupid and not having the kid restrained,” he added, according to Nine News. “She was driving with speed, I couldn’t estimate how fast, and almost lost control as she came around the corner at a wide angle.”
When quizzed over why he didn’t come forward sooner, Chapman reportedly told the inquest he was worried he may not be right about what he saw. While he previously speculated that he may have dreamt what he saw, he told the inquest this week: “I definitely saw William. I’m 100 per cent sure it was William.”
It comes after William’s foster parents spoke out in a rare interview about the little boy and how they will never give up the search for the beloved child, as part of 10 Daily podcast ‘Where’s William Tyrrell’?
While it has been five years since the little boy vanished from his foster grandmother’s home, memories of the toddler still remain imprinted in the minds of his foster parents who described having an immediate connection with the child.
“Even though William is not biologically ours the link and the connection that he had with you was incredibly special,” the foster mum said to her partner during the podcast. “I’m not saying this to detract from the relationship that he has with his biological family because I think that is incredibly precious and special but I think the bond between the two of you was just fabulous to watch.”
That came after a chilling video was released by the coroner’s court, showing his foster mother recalling her frantic search for her son to police in the days after he first disappeared. The footage shows the mother describing how she desperately drove around looking for her son after he disappeared. Her face has been blurred in the video as she cannot be identified.
The video was filmed just six days after William went missing and shows his mother recalling her extensive search of the area around her home, including stops at every property on the street. At one point, she describes to police how she pulled over at a busy road in Kendall, on the New South Wales north coast.
“I’ve pulled over because I’ve just got my head out the window looking for William,” she is heard saying in the footage. “I drive really slow… I get to the riding school and I just think ‘he’s not here’. And then I bring the car back up and I run out and look for him again.”
New video shows William Tyrrell’s foster mother retracing her steps with police in the days after he disappeared. pic.twitter.com/bfKmm7lDen
— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) March 26, 2019
“I thought, ‘this is ridiculous. He’s not down here’, and I went back up, back to home,” she reportedly said. Meanwhile, speaking elsewhere in the inquest, the foster mother described how she thought she heard a scream while searching for her son.
“When a child hurts themselves unexpectedly, there’s a scream, and it felt like a scream – it was quick and it was high pitched and it was sharp, which is why I went into these reeds,” she reportedly said. “I got into the bush and I thought I can’t see any red – I thought maybe I imagined it, maybe it was a bird and I just walked back.”