Police detectives with items for forensic testing. Picture: Nick MoirTHE children of a tradesman questioned over the disappearance of toddler William Tyrell say they love him and are certain he has done nothing wrong.
Police searched the home and business of William Harrie Spedding, 63, after they learnt he had been hired to fix a washing machine at the mid-north coast house from which the three-year-old vanished on September 12.
The search of Mr Spedding’s home in Bonny Hills, which included draining the property’s septic tank and the excavation of some land, ended late on Wednesday. No charges have been laid.
Mr Spedding’s daughter-in-law, Aimy Spedding, told Fairfax Media his son and daughter supported him fully and believed he had nothing do with William’s disappearance from his grandmother’s home in Kendall.
Toddler, William Tyrell, missing since September 2014. Picture: NSW Police
‘‘We fully support him. We know that he has had nothing to do with this,’’ Mrs Spedding said. ‘‘We have spoken to him. Obviously he is very upset, his wife is devastated.
‘‘Basically we spoke to him and said ‘We love and have your back and we support you 100 per cent’.’’
Mrs Spedding said the washing machine repairman and his wife Margaret were distressed that their home had been raided by police and guarded for nearly 48 hours.
Cars, a single mattress and computer equipment were among a number of things seized and taken away for forensic examination.
Mrs Spedding’s comments came hours after police took down crime scene tape from around the couple’s semi-rural property.
A town looking for answers. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
Police say their investigation is ‘‘active’’ and the search was a line of inquiry.
Mrs Spedding said her family understood police had to follow all possible leads but felt that draining a septic tank and digging up Mr Spedding’s backyard on Wednesday were ‘‘extreme’’.
‘‘The police have obviously got to follow up lines of inquiry but the way they have gone about it is extreme,’’ she said.
‘‘They are obviously between a rock and a hard place because they are being driven by the public for an answer.
‘‘We’ve found it completely confronting and concerning.’’
Police have described Mr Spedding as a person of interest who has been assisting them with their inquiries. Mrs Spedding said her father-in-law had five children and many grandchildren who adored him.
‘‘I was quite shocked when I first found out and I ended up leaving work,’’ she said. ‘‘He’s lovely, he’s a gentleman and for a father-in-law he is brilliant.’’
She said she had known the 63-year-old for 17 years and asked people not to jump to conclusions.
Police searched the Bonny Hills property on Tuesday 20 January. Picture: Nick Moir
‘‘What’s upset me the most is seeing nasty people on Facebook jumping to conclusions,’’ she said.
Family friend Colin said he spoke to Mr Spedding on Wednesday night and that he was coping but was highly distressed by the media attention.
Mr Spedding has been active on social media in recent months, writing posts about the search for William. On December 4, Mr Spedding shared the link of a photo of William, which had a caption underneath that read: ‘‘Today, somebody is keeping a secret. They got up this morning. Had breakfast. Realised they need to pick up some milk. Wasted time on Facebook. Made some calls. All the while maintaining a poker face.’’
He added a comment that read: ‘‘Don’t give up looking.’’
Homicide detectives said a number of properties had been searched in recent months in relation to the disappearance of William, and they would continue to follow up all possible leads.