News

Meticulous process to find Daniel Morcombe's remains

The search for the remains of Daniel Morcombe.
The search for the remains of Daniel Morcombe. Supplied/ Police Media

ARMED with hand-held garden tools and crawling in an uncomfortably close line shoulder to shoulder, the people tasked with finding Daniel Morcombe's remains eight years after he went missing followed a meticulous process.

Police and SES volunteers would sift through a dense layer of pine needles, leaves and soil to a depth of about 10-15cm near an unused sand mine in secluded bushland in the Glasshouse Mountains.

Photographs shown in Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday showed some bones could easily have been mistaken for sticks that had fallen from the trees above.

But the court heard volunteers were shown worn animal bones to help them identify bone fragments during the painstaking search.

Farmer explains land where Daniel Morcombe was allegedly murdered

The search began on August 13, 2011, with a barely recognisable right Globe shoe encrusted with mud spotted on August 17 between a small body of water and the embankment.

A left Globe shoe was found on August 20, followed closely by the first of 17 human bones located up to September 9.

Sunshine Coast police inspector Arthur Van Panhuis described the search as "exceptionally intensive" involving excavations, police divers, cadaver dogs, metal detectors and specially designed sieves.

Defence says Daniel Morcombe murder confession was fake

Brett Peter Cowan - who is standing trial for murder, indecent treatment and interfering with a corpse - allegedly confessed to undercover police during an elaborate sting operation that he had thrown Daniel's body over an embankment at the old sand mine and then climbed down to cover it with material from the forest floor.

Mr Van Panhuis said the bones were found 50-75 m from where Mr Cowan claimed he dumped Daniel's body.

The court heard there was evidence of wild dogs and goannas in the area as well as a fox den.

An Adelaide scientist who specialises in ancient DNA has no doubt an upper arm bone he analysed belonged to Daniel.

Morcombe accused wanted to have fun with Daniel

Jeremy James Austin, from the University of Adelaide, said the mitochondrial DNA from the bone matched Daniel's mother Denise and his brothers Dean and Bradley.

Dr Austin, who has been extracting mitochondrial DNA from animals and humans for 20 years but has focused on identifying human remains since 2007, said mitochondrial DNA came from the maternal ancestry.

Forensic pathologist Peter Ellis told the court he believed the bones belonged to Daniel but could not establish a cause of death.

He said searchers found the left and right upper arm bones, left shoulder blade, one of the bones from a right forearm, parts of the left and right pelvis, the left and right thigh and shin bones as well as five vertebrae from the lower back.

"There were no duplicates," he said.

"That very strongly suggests there is only one person.

"It was our opinion that all the bones were Daniel Morcombe."

Topics:  brisbane supreme court daniel morcombe editors picks murder



Foodies' scavenger hunt: are you up for it?

IF YOU want to give your tastebuds the flavour sensations of a lifetime, here is the ultimate foodie’s scavenger hunt through Brisbane.

5 minutes with Israel Folau on footy, life and love

Israel Folau and Silver Fern netballer Maria Tutaia announced their engagement last last year.

WE CAUGHT up with football star and Brisbane ex-pat Israel Folau.

10 reasons to head to South Bank this summer

Head to the only inner-city beach in Australia!

South Bank has a ridiculous amount of fun things to do.

Five mammoth events you need in your life

No Caption

BRISBANE isn’t known for doing things by halves…

How to make your child's every dream come true...

Take a dip at South Bank in the inner-city beach.

‘I DON’T want to do fun things, Mum and Dad’… said no child ever!

How to do Eat Street the right way

Know where to start and where to end to avoid a huge food coma before you get to experience all the goodies!

EVERY Friday and Saturday night, Hamilton comes alive.

You can do WHAT in Brisbane?!

Talk about arriving in style! Take your pub crawl to the next level with a helicopter!

BET you didn't know you could do these things in Brisbane...

Searches stopped after no signs of swimmer

POSSIBLE DROWING: Crews search off Cabarita Beach following reports a swimmer was seen in distress in the waters off Norries Headland.

Search for swimmer on hold.

Australia 'streets ahead' of anywhere else on Earth

INTREPID ADVENTURERS: Iain Finlay with wife Trish Clark at their home in North Tumbulgum this week.

Australia Day ambassador Iain Finlay looks back on lucky life

Learning the tricks of the circus trade

ROLL UP, ROLL UP: Children at Tweed Shire Vacation Care learn some circus skills from Circus in Education director Jacqui Levy.

Children escaped to the circus for the day.

Local Partners

Kristen Stewart to host SNL

Kristen Stewart will host a pre-Super Bowl episode of SNL next month

Search for Merseybeat magic continues

The Searchers are coming to Twin Towns in February as part of a national tour.

"It's a free spirited country with a relaxed attitude to everything”

Louis Tomlinson celebrated his son's first birthday

Louis Tomlinson and Briana Jungwirth celebrate son's first birthday

Kylie Minogue will take husband's name

Kylie Minogue will take her fiancé Joshua Sasse's surname

Nicole reveals her biggest parenting challenges

Actress Nicole Kidman.

Nicole Kidman says her kids are ‘deeply attuned' to her moods.

Suicide Squad director reveals his regrets about the film

Margot Robbie in a scene from the movie Suicide Squad.

DIRECTOR of superhero flick on what he’d change about ‘flawed’ film.

Casuarina tops Tweed house market at $870,000

Casuarina recorded the region's top median prices for both houses ($870,000) and units ($435,000).

Buyers jumping at chance to get into Tweed property market

Beautiful Terranora acreage

77 Mahers Lane, Terranora.

Check out this week's feature property.

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

KNIFE-EDGE: The housing tightrope we now face

Even the smallest interest rate rise will be hard for some to handle.

One if five home owners at risk, according to new analysis

'Difficult times': Rental prices tipped to increase in 2017

GREAT BUYS: There are some great rentals and houses to buy in South Gladstone. Head to gladstoneobserver.com.au for the top 10 homes under $100 to rent right now in the Gladstone region.

Investors may soon see a "profitable return” on properties.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!