The Spider-Man costume William Tyrrell was believed to be wearing at the time of his disappearance may be all that remains of the missing toddler as his bones would have likely broken down over time, according to experts.
Geomorphologist Professor Jon Olley told The Daily Telegraph that the Spider-Man costume would be the only clue remaining that could point to the toddler’s disappearance, given the make-up of the material.
“The one thing we have going in our favour is the fact that (investigators) believe he was in a polyester suit. That doesn’t break down and it’s very resistant to actually fading as well,” he said.
“There possibly would be bones, but given the level of bioactivity here, and the amount of humic acids that are in the soils, that would actually help break them down over time.
“Seven years for a child’s bones is a long time in this sort of environment. It is unlikely that a large proportion of the bones would be well preserved.”
Olley has been assisting New South Wales Police with the renewed search for William, having assisted on previous high-profile missing persons and murder cases in the past including the Daniel Morcombe investigation. He said investigators remain confident that William is not buried in the areas already searched.
A renewed investigation into the toddler’s disappearance, announced November 15, saw hundreds of police descend on the town of Kendall to carry out fresh searches in NSW bushland for clues. Authorities have also seized a vehicle for forensic testing and have announced they are zeroing in on a single suspect.
Olley’s comments come as investigators discovered a red piece of fabric close to where William vanished over seven years ago. Police pulled the faded piece of fabric from a drained creek bed on Monday, December 6.
Throughout the course of the investigation, authorities have collected and photographed several pieces of fabric, which have been taken away for further forensic testing. Investigators are also currently sifting through tonnes of soil, taken from the search area, in search of potential evidence.
Former NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller recently told ABC News that the investigation could continue longer than expected given the amount of evidence police have to work with.
“We have taken 15 tonnes of soil and other pieces of evidence or potential evidence back for forensic investigation,” he said.
“(It’s) particularly challenging weather conditions at the moment but that will continue until investigators believe that the job is done.
“If you think about 15 tonnes of soil being moved into a clandestine lab, there could be weeks and weeks of searching through that before we have any answers.”