The former detective who led the initial search for William Tyrrell says there was nothing to make him suspect his foster parents had anything to do with his disappearance at the time he left the investigation.
Gary Jubelin headed the investigation for more than four years from early 2015 until 2019 when he was stood down as the head of Strike Force Rosann not long before he left the NSW Police force.
William was three when he vanished from his foster grandmother’s home in Kendall, on the NSW mid-north coast, in 2014.
He has never been found despite several searches over the past seven years and a coronial inquest, which remains open.
Police have this week launched a fresh search acting on “new information”, with NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller revealing detectives were focusing on one person of interest.
In a radio interview on Tuesday, Mr Fuller made an unusual public criticism of the way the early investigation into William’s disappearance was run.
He said the current team had inherited “a bit of a mess” of an investigation that had initially “wasted” time pursuing individuals who were “clearly” not linked to the crime.
“The investigation was looking at some persons of interest that were clearly not, and I think some time was wasted on that, and bushland is overgrown,” Mr Fuller told 2GB radio.
Mr Jubelin appeared on the same program on Thursday where he stared down the criticism and questioned the timing of the relaunched investigation.
“I‘ve been watching and I give respect to the police. I know they’re in there. They’re trying hard,” he said.
“The timing of information that’s been released is, a big coincidence, certain things and the way it’s playing out very, very publicly.”
He said his investigation had “most definitely” given enough weight to the possibility that William’s foster mother could have had some involvement in his disappearance.
“I sit here very confidently and that’s why I take issue when I hear comments that the investigation was in a shambles when it was taken over,” he said.
“I rely on my experience along with my gut but I always defer to the facts,” he said.
“All I can say, because I’ve been off the investigation for two years and 10 months, at the time I left the investigation, there was no evidence that concerned me the foster mother or foster father were involved in the disappearance.
Mr Jubelin said “if the evidence has changed, I’m not aware of it”.
William’s foster parents were on Wednesday charged over the alleged assault of a child — not William — on Sydney’s upper north shore.
In a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, NSW Police said the couple were charged with common assault of a child who cannot be named for legal reasons.