ELEANOR HALL: Now to New South Wales, where police say they're
baffled by the disappearance of a 3-year-old boy as they continue their search
into its sixth day.
They are again scouring bushland around the home where William Tyrell, wearing his Spiderman costume, went missing from his grandmother's home on the state's mid-north coast.
Police say they have no clues about his disappearance, but they're taking advice from child specialists and are now focusing their efforts on the immediate area where he was last seen.
They are also not ruling out that the possibility of abduction.
Tanya Nolan has our report.
TANYA NOLAN: The search for William Tyrell is becoming desperate.
The 3-year-old was playing with his little sister in the front yard of his grandmother's house on Friday morning in a suburb on the outskirts of the tiny community of Kendall.
Superintendent Paul Fehon, the commander of the mid-north coast local command, says it's a small estate about 1 kilometre away from town.
PAUL FEHON: There'd be about 40 houses on one acre lots. It's a very quiet location.
The grandmother's home is situated at nearly the end of the dead-end street and has an open view for 400 metres down that street.
It is just so unusual to find that we don't have anything at this point in time.
TANYA NOLAN: Superintendent Fehon, who is commanding the search operation, says what else is unusual is the total lack of clues to his disappearance.
PAUL FEHON: Normally we would have expected to have something by this point in time.
It is disappointing that we don't have that, but we're retracing over, we have the police divers back up here today.
We're going back over the dams and waterways. We've got the SES on the main rivers.
We're continuing to just comb over the areas until we find something.
TANYA NOLAN: It's nearly six days since William was last seen and even though hundreds of volunteers have scoured the vast bushland adjacent to his grandmother's house, police are again today focusing their search efforts within a 3 kilometre radius.
Superintendent Fehon says the best knowledge of child behaviour is that when they wander off they don't tend to stray far.
PAUL FEHON: He's a 3-year-old young boy.
If he has wandered into the bush, and we've got nothing to say he has or hasn't, everything is on the table, he'd only get a certain distance.
And again, experts in the field of child movements have indicated to us normally that 1.5 kilometres would be most probably the area that we should concentrate.
TANYA NOLAN: Less of a focus but still within the search zone is a rugged and largely inaccessible area of outlying bushland.
Police are not ruling out the prospect that the boy may have been abducted and special investigators from the state crime command have now arrived at the scene to bolster the resources of what's now become Strikeforce Rosann.
But Superintendent Fehon says the lack of clues is truly baffling
PAUL FEHON: We have no leads.
A 3-year-old playing in the yard with his sister; three generations of family are present there; he just does not disappear.
And whilst unfortunately that survival in the bush doesn't exist, we will still continue to scour and search this area.
TANYA NOLAN: As is often the case in missing persons scenarios, reports of sightings and tip-offs are circulating, and they include the alleged sighting of the boy in the Northern Rivers area and reports that a man was asking for directions to the street where the boy went missing on the day he went missing.
Police will confirm none of them.
And with so little to go on, it's difficult to imagine the level of despair William's family and friends must be feeling.
Someone with a better understanding than most is Liz Davies, coordinator of the Families and Friends of Missing Persons Unit, which operates from within the New South Wales Attorney General's department.
LIZ DAVIES: We live in a very solution-focused world where we look for answers to everything, and when somebody is missing, the answer's not there.
People will offer different hypotheses and we will say, we don't do that, we can't do that.
TANYA NOLAN: So how do you give hope or comfort to families and friends where there is no hope of them finding their loved ones alive?
LIZ DAVIES: How can we ever say there is no hope?
So we would never say this person will not be found because in fact, we don't know that for certain.
That unless there is concrete evidence or tangible evidence to suggest otherwise, we would always say the feelings of hope are normal and they're extremely important.
Hope is what keeps us going. It's what gets us out of bed.
TANYA NOLAN: And are the cases involving children particularly difficult? And how?
LIZ DAVIES: When children are involved there is a real added dimension of wanting to protect, wanting to make that child safe.
So I think the community gets far more involved.
So I think it's really important that families are supported, whilst they're given with some privacy as well, but they're given as much support as they want to sustain them through that time.
ELEANOR HALL: That's Liz Davies, coordinator of the Families and Friends of Missing Persons Unit.