Three years ago three-year-old William Tyrrell went missing from his grandmother’s New South Wales home, according to everything we’ve heard so far.
However, it was recently confirmed by NSW courts that Tyrrell was, in fact, in foster care at the time of his disappearance and the grandmother in question was not a blood relation of the young boy.
The surprising new details were made public knowledge on an episode of A Current Affair soon after the NSW Supreme Court of Appeal clarified statutory regulations and decreed that the fact Tyrrell’s apparent abduction occurred while he was in the foster care system was “one of legitimate public interest”.
According to reports in The Daily Telegraph, journalists had, in the past, been threatened with criminal convictions if they published the information. The Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) also managed to get some Facebook posts removed when it was discovered they were stating that Tyrrell was in the care of minister Gabrielle Upton at the time of his disappearance.
FACS believed knowledge of Tyrrell’s foster care situation would lead to the child suffering from negative stigma if he were to be found alive; A Current Affair reported that the boy’s biological father struggled with drug and alcohol problems, and had been imprisoned.
Justice Paul Brereton overruled the negative stigma argument, mainly due to “the tragic probability that [Tyrrell] is no longer alive”.
“The truth to date has been obscured: the public has admittedly been given to think that [his] carers are his parents,” Brereton said. “There is a substantial public interest in accountability and scrutiny of the out-of-home care system, and in accuracy of reportage of the circumstances of his disappearance.”
There has been little evidence regarding Tyrrell’s abduction from his foster grandmother’s home in 2014 and, whoever was caring for the child, his disappearance may remain a mystery for the foreseeable future.
This article originally appeared on Starts At 60.