William’s family open up about ‘harrowing’ death
Warning: This story discusses suicide.
A family who found their teenage son dead after a two-day bushland search say the tragedy came "out of the blue" but they have been humbled by community support.
William Wall, 14, left home on September 22 telling his parents he was going for a run but never returned home, prompting a wide scale search in the Yarra Ranges.
His body was found the next day less than 1km from his Launching Place home - a devastating discovery for the Wall family and tight-knit community.
William's grieving father Shane said his son's death was unexpected.
"It came out of the blue, there was nothing unusual leading up to his death," Mr Wall said.
"We are struggling to come to grips with there's no note, I don't know what was going through his head.
"You want to be able to think there would be some tell tale signs for us to pick up on earlier, but unfortunately there was nothing.
"It is not nice for someone to take their life, it is not nice for the people who are left behind. It is a tragedy."
Mr Wall described the ordeal as "harrowing".
"The hope was always there to find him," he said.
"It was gut-wrenching, you go through different scenarios in your brain but this was the last thing I thought of."
He said he and wife Teresa had always been open with their four children about suicide, emphasising the pain inflicted upon those left behind.
The Wall family has been humbled by the generosity of the community during their time of grief.
"The support is keeping us going - it makes you feel like you are not alone," Mrs Wall said. "It is hard, it still doesn't feel like reality yet, it hasn't hit me properly. From the moment my husband said he wasn't home, it has been a blur since."
Teresa described her son as caring and sensitive and said he would often text to say he loved her.
The night before he went missing he shared ambitions of joining the air force and getting his pilot's licence.
"He was a beautiful kid with a gorgeous sense of humour," she said.
Mr Wall echoed his wife's gratitude: "Although I grieve for my son, people have been fantastic, the support is overwhelming. I just can't fathom that the community has come together in such a way, I can't thank people enough.
"The conditions were so poor and people kept looking for William in the night.
"I'm still coming to terms with what drove strangers to do that."
Originally published as William's family open up about 'harrowing' death