Dad’s heartbreaking tribute to William Wall
The dad of an autistic teen with dreams of joining the air force and becoming a police officer who was found dead after a two-day search in Victoria's Yarra Ranges has given an emotional tribute to his beautiful son.
William Wall, 14, went missing after he left his Launching Place home to go for a 15-minute walk about 6.45am on Tuesday but was tragically found dead about 34 hours later.
His disappearance sparked a massive search effort across a 10km radius of dense bushland east of Melbourne between Launching Place and Warburton, with police confirming the teenager was found about 1km from home on Wednesday afternoon.
William's dad Shane Wall gave an emotional tribute to his "beautiful and caring son" on Thursday morning.
"I wish I had better news regarding our beautiful and caring son and brother William Wall, unfortunately he is no longer with us," Mr Wall posted on Facebook.
"We don't know how to begin to thank everyone who searched and supported us in the last 48 hours.
"The list is endless. We are so fortunate to live in an amazing and supportive community."
Mr Wall told reporters on Wednesday his son had aspirations of becoming a Victoria Police or Australian Federal Police officer and joining the air force.
He said William loved dogs and exercise, was very energetic and athletic.
"He loves exercise, 15 minutes to an hour, it's not unheard of, he's a decent-sized kid, very energetic, athletic," Mr Wall said.
"He's a kid that sticks to himself, does all his school work, so this (his disappearance) is really out of the ordinary."
William was found just before 5pm on Wednesday off residential Victoria St in Yarra Junction.
"His death is not being treated as suspicious, and police will prepare a report for the coroner," police said in a statement.
Friends took to social media to share their grief and pass on their condolences to Mr Wall and William's family, which includes two older brothers, Harrison, 18, and Jake, 21, and sister Sophie, 10.
"I've got no words, we are thinking of you all, and will treasure the memories of Wil as a little boy," Maria Niksic posted.
Michael Hartigan said Mr Wall had been an "amazing pillar of strength" over the past two days.
"I can't even comprehend what you are all going through. All of our love to your family, take care brother," he posted.
Tony Carden said Mr Wall was one of the "most dedicated dads" he knew.
"My heart breaks for you and your family," he said.
"This is the cruellest blow to one of the most dedicated dads I know. Know that Will and you are loved by many.
"I wish you and your family all the very best in drawing on your great strength to move forward."
Colleague Andrew McCathie said it was "hard to describe the sense of immense sadness and despair … our hearts go out to you".
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews also passed on his condolences at his daily media briefing.
"On behalf of all Victorians I would like to send our love and support, our condolences and best wishes to the family of William Wall," he said.
This is a terrible tragedy and one that has touched every single Victorian.
"To every member of William's family we say how sad we are, we're sharing your grief, your loss and any support that we can provide to you we stand ready to do that."
Mr Andrews also paid tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who searched for William and stepped up when they were called on.
Originally published as Dad's heartbreaking tribute to William