The search for William Wall has ended in tragedy with the missing teenager’s body found after more than 24 hours of desperate rescue efforts.
The search for William Wall has ended in tragedy with the missing teenager’s body found after more than 24 hours of desperate rescue efforts.

Tragic end in search for missing William

The search for William Wall has ended in tragedy with the missing teenager found dead after more than 24 hours of desperate rescue efforts.

The 14-year-old's body was discovered in Yarra Junction on Wednesday afternoon.

The Herald Sun understands he was found in bush off a residential street less than two kilometres from his home.

Grieving family are at the scene guarded by police.

William's death is not being treated as suspicious and police will prepare a report for the Coroner.

"Police would like to thank the media and all those involved in the search," a spokesperson said.

It comes after rescuers searched in a 10km search radius, focusing on tracks in the Warburton region.

Search and rescue volunteers gather at Warburton Police Station before heading out to search for William Wall. Picture: Andrew Henshaw
Search and rescue volunteers gather at Warburton Police Station before heading out to search for William Wall. Picture: Andrew Henshaw

SES crews searched for William into the night on Tuesday but were unable to find him.

The teen was last seen leaving his home in Launching Place, 54km east of Melbourne's CBD, on Tuesday about 6.45am.

There were concerns for his welfare as temperatures in Launching Place dropped to 7C overnight and he left home without food.

Missing fourteen-year-old William Wall.
Missing fourteen-year-old William Wall.

Shane Wall said his family was devastated by the 14-year-old's disappearance and spent the night searching for him in the dark.

"We want you home," he said on Tuesday.

William had a younger sister, Sophie, and two older brothers, Jake and Harrison and has aspirations to join the police or air force.

LOCALS TURNED AWAY FROM SEARCH

In a tense meeting, a large group of goodwilled locals were turned away from the search, after being told they were not needed and should return home.

One man said the decision was "bullshit" and that more volunteers would help find William sooner.

Police warned locals the search area was very treacherous and the wet weather would make things worse.

They were told the best thing to do was share information about his disappearance on social media.

Authorities earlier focused on the O'Shannassy Aqueduct Trail in Warburton, 16km from William's home, after police received a reported sighting of an "upset male" from what they described as a "credible source".

"Through the night we had a lot of other police resources deployed," he said.

Trained volunteers prepare to head out for another day of searching. Picture: Andrew Henshaw
Trained volunteers prepare to head out for another day of searching. Picture: Andrew Henshaw

"We've got a far larger contingent of police on the ground at the moment … in excess of 100 people supporting the search."

Asked why volunteers were turned away, Insp Goddard said: "We are professionals at dealing with searches. This is not an uncommon occurrence for us to search for people. And in this area here we do often have people go missing."

"We are comfortable with the resourcing that we do have in place at the moment.

"This is not to do with COVID. We don't want to bring this into a COVID conversation. What we are doing is focusing our search on Will."

SES and volunteers search into the night Picture: Jason Edwards
SES and volunteers search into the night Picture: Jason Edwards

TREACHEROUS CONDITIONS HAMPERED EFFORTS

Rain predicted for the area most of Wednesday was predicted to impact search efforts.

William left for his daily walk along the Warburton Trail, telling relatives he would only be gone for 15 minutes.

A large number of Bush Search & Rescue, SES, police, including the Mounted Branch and air wing, are out searching for William.

Volunteer Peta McMillian-Kelly and her 13-year-old daughter Lila said it was "disheartening" to be turned away and that they would go out searching for William anyway.

"We are going to take our dogs for a walk around the aqueduct. We have already been searching this morning. It's really disappointing (being turned away). We have all come with good intentions to find William and the weather is getting worse … the rain has started and it's going to get colder."

Police and SES crews were called to Launching Place, 54km east of Melbourne's CBD, Picture: Jason Edwards
Police and SES crews were called to Launching Place, 54km east of Melbourne's CBD, Picture: Jason Edwards

Lila said: "I am very worried for him. If it was me I'd be terrified."

Karen Duke, from Warburton, left the light on at her home last night.

She said being told to go home made her feel "useless" but she would keep an eye out for William at local playgrounds and trails.

"I think people feel like they want to do something. We want to help," she said.

A search party of dozens, ­including many SES volunteers, combed dense terrain between Millgrove and East Warburton on Tuesday night.

It comes after more than a dozen SES members left the staging area outside Yarra Junction police station about 8pm for a long night ahead of searching for the lost teen.

They convened, discussed plans and looked on maps of the area they would search.

Crews are battling heavy rain. Picture: Jason Edwards
Crews are battling heavy rain. Picture: Jason Edwards

 

Dence terrain is also hampering search efforts.. Picture: Jason Edwards
Dence terrain is also hampering search efforts.. Picture: Jason Edwards

Crews made noise and yelled in an attempt to lure the teen out of the bush, in the scenario he had taken shelter somewhere.

They called out: "William, this is the SES, can you hear us?"

brianna.travers@news.com.au

Originally published as Tragic end in search for missing William

Search and rescue teams prepare to look for William in the Yarra Ranges. Picture: Andrew Henshaw
Search and rescue teams prepare to look for William in the Yarra Ranges. Picture: Andrew Henshaw

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