If you weep, you only weep with me - and the rest of Australia.
Daniel Morcombe's story is one that should never have had to be written. It is also a story of something that should never happen again, not in this country. His story is one of tragedy, of the immense courage and love, of the sheer determination and perseverance of his parents and brothers. It is a story of the immense and tireless efforts of the Police throughout eight long, harrowing years.
Daniel lived just 45 minutes from us, on the Sunshine Coast. He was a beautiful 13 year old. On 7th December, 2003 Daniel left home to catch a bus to do some Christmas shopping and have his hair cut. He was never seen again.
The last sighting of Daniel was at approximately 2:10 pm on the Nambour Connection Road under the Kiel Mountain Road overpass. The bus he was supposed to catch had broken down a few kilometres before his stop, and was behind schedule. When a replacement bus eventually arrived, Daniel hailed the bus, but it carried on without stopping, due to its delay and the fact that his stop was only an unofficial request stop. The driver of the bus radioed the depot for another bus to go and pick up Daniel. The bus driver and other witnesses later reported seeing a man standing a distance behind Daniel, and another man slightly farther away at the time. When the second bus came a couple of minutes later, both Daniel and the man had gone.
Police placed a mannequin at the spot where Daniel was last seen, from which they received a massive response from potential witnesses. The SES (State Emergency Services) were called in to join the search of bushland in the area. Grave fears were held for Daniel's safety. Witnesses gave information that a blue 1980s model sedan, possibly a Toyota Corolla, with yellow New South Wales license plates was seen nearby at the time of Daniel's disappearance.
In December 2006, the three year anniversary, Mr. Morcombe revealed the family's shocking belief that his son had been called by the 'pet' name "Christmas cake" by a pedophile network which knew what had happened to him. He appealed for someone to come forward and help solve the crime.
Daniel's parents worked unceasingly to keep the story in the forefront of everyone's mind, to keep the media exposure going, to find their son. The Police were in close contact with them every step of the way. By 12th December 2008, a reward of $1,000,000 ($250,000 from the Government and another $750,000 from private donation) had been offered. The privately donated portion of the reward expired at midnight on 31 May 2009. On this particular day, the Seven Network reported that a known paedophile (Douglas Jackway), who had been released from prison in 2003 - one month before Daniel disappeared - could be of interest to the police.
Police Minister Judy Spence said the reward was available for information that leads to the apprehension and conviction of the person or people responsible for Daniel's suspected abduction and murder, or the location of Daniel's body.
In May 2009, a life sized clay model of a man believed to be involved in Daniel's abduction was placed at the spot from where Daniel disappeared. Within a few days there were more than 300 responses.
In June 2009, the Queensland Government came under criticism from Parliament over the release of Jackway from prison. One MP claimed the Supreme Court had presented clear evidence of his risk of reoffending. This publicity also prompted civil liberties groups to call for laws banning media outlets from naming people linked to criminal cases. (source Wikipedia)
June 2009, and Daniel's parents called for a coronial inquest, hopeful of finding answers. They said that after five and half years, it was time an inquest was held. Several criminals had told Police that they knew who had abducted and killed Daniel, and also where he was buried.
The inquest would have been an indescribable ordeal for the Morcombes, with a witness confessing to the abduction and murder of Daniel, only to be found lying, and acting out of revenge on a partner, and seeking attention.
Daniel’s parents, Bruce and Denise, this morning also described the next two “PoI’’ (Persons of Interest) witnesses to testify at their son’s inquest in the Brisbane Coroner’s Court as “disgusting human beings.” (Source Courier Mail)
A MOTHER saw Daniel Morcombe standing at a bus stop about the time of his disappearance and then heard the urgent screams of a child in distress while driving to collect her daughter from church.
Judith Van Der Meer told the Brisbane Coroner's Court she remembered seeing Daniel, a blue car and two men acting "conspicuously" under the Kiel Mountain Rd overpass about the time of his disappearance of December 7, 2003.
Ms Van Der Meer, who was running late to collect her young daughter from the nearby Christian Outreach Church, said after passing Daniel she heard a child's voice yelling.
"It was definitely Daniel there with a stick (and then) I remember hearing a boy's voice saying, 'No, I don't want to,' " she said. "It was short, it was sharp, it was urgent."
However, the mother-of-the-three said after collecting her daughter from church she "didn't think anything more of it".
Eventually, after eight long years, a 41 year old man, a former truck driver, Brett Peter Cowan, was arrested. He was PoI7, and Police had been watching him for some time.
UNDERCOVER police officers lived for months at the same Perth caravan park as the man accused of murdering Daniel Morcombe.
Brett Peter Cowan had no idea that almost every moment of his life was being monitored by detectives living just metres from him.
The surprise arrest came after police lured him back to Queensland from Perth under a covert and complex strategy. Brett Peter Cowan was charged with murder and other offences, including child stealing, deprivation of liberty, indecent treatment of a child under 16, and interfering with a corpse.
|Artist Impression of Cowan/Cohen|
Following the arrest a massive search, including the dog squad and police divers, was undertaken at the Glass House Mountains. Mrs. Morcombe wept as she told of how difficult this task would be. "During the floods, this spot had 10m of water through it," she said. The SES and Police vowed they would not give up until they had scoured every inch of the area. On 21 August 2011, two shoes and three human bones were found. Forensic testing confirmed that the bones were Daniel's. Three bones and two shoes.
|Going through inch by inch|
|Creek in the search area|
Brett Peter Cowan? He is the father of three children. He is also known as Brett Peter Cohen. He was sentenced in 1994 to seven years in jail, with three and a half years without parole. He is a repeat offender, one victim was a 6 year old boy, who, after being assaulted by Cowan wandered into a service station, naked and bleeding. His other victim was a 7 year old boy, and he served fourteen months in Brisbane for molesting the boy.
This evil evil creature was able to move freely about the country, live where he wanted and be secure in the knowledge that the public were unaware of his exact nature as a child sexual predator. This is wrong. Our country needs to have laws in place that equate with laws in the USA - we have a right to know if a predator lives in our neighbourhood. We have a right to protect our children of whatever age. And we have a right to know that these creatures will be put away for a very very long time. Once a paedophile - always a paedophile. This evil, foul excuse for a man just kept on reoffending until he committed the ultimate crime. Queensland's most massive manhunt should never have happened.
I want Daniel's law. Will you please help me to get it?