News

Clothes 15m from where accused said he dumped them

The ribbing of the Bonds underpants to belong to Daniel Morcombe found by police divers in Coochin Creek.
The ribbing of the Bonds underpants to belong to Daniel Morcombe found by police divers in Coochin Creek.

ABOUT 15m downstream from a low wooden bridge over Coochin Creek where Daniel Morcombe's accused murderer claimed he dumped the boy's clothes, police divers found underpants, shorts and a belt.

Senior Constable Chae Philip Rowland described following a small black thread down to underpants believed to belong to Daniel.

The officer said the thread led to a bundle of twigs caught up in the narrow, shallow creek bed about 10.15am on August 18.

"It wasn't a spider's web it was actually a fabric," he said.

"That led me to an elastic waist band that belonged to underpants.

"I could see a label on it and I believed it was an item of clothing."

Snr Const Rowland told Brisbane Supreme Court on Thursday that under a certain light he could faintly see the word Bonds.

The location on Coochin Creek where police divers located a pair of Bonds underpants.
The location on Coochin Creek where police divers located a pair of Bonds underpants.

Bruce Morcombe had previously told the court Daniel wore Bonds brand underwear, noting his twin Bradley wore Rio brand.

Fellow police diver Gordon Paul Thiry testified he found the Ripcurl shorts and a belt on September 26 while doing a "wading search" after logs and other debris had been removed from the creek bed.

"About 20cm under the creek bed in the soft and hard sand … I've located a piece of material I could feel under the water," he said.

"We dug around that and eventually we recovered a pair of shorts (at 9.55am)."

 

Is this the tiny house where Daniel Morcombe died?

They recovered a belt which was semi-submerged in the water, which was less than 50cm deep, about 10.35am.

Mr Morcombe and wife Denise had previously described to the court how Daniel commonly wore dark shorts, that hung below the knee.

The Pajero which was searched by police.
The Pajero which was searched by police.

They could not confirm whether there was a belt missing from Daniel's clothing when he disappeared.

Water science expert Jonathon Olley told the court there had been two significant flood events through the Glasshouse Mountains search site since 2003.

Mr Olley, who has studied sediment movement by water for 29 years, said nearby Coochin Creek also would have flooded on May 21, 2009, and January 21, 2011.

He said described the creek as windy with lots of fallen trees and many roots encroaching on the channel.

Meticulous process to find Daniel Morcombe's remains

"All those flows we believe were small flushing flows … so the flows would be confined to the channel," he said.

So if you threw fabrics, materials into the stream in December, 2003, it wouldn't have transported.

"The small flows would have pushed it downstream just a little bit and the probability is that it would have been hooked up in that vegetation relatively quickly."

Police scientific officer Donna Marie MacGregor, who specialises in human anatomy and forensic anthropology, told the court she concluded that Daniel's body was most likely left on the ground at Glasshouse Mountains, rather than being buried, because all 17 bones were found in the top 10cm of leaf and soil on the forest floor.

Defence says Morcombe murder confession a fake

She said she was able to determine the bones belonged to someone aged 9.5 to 14 years with a height between 127.3cm to 135.6cm but she could not determine gender.

Brett Peter Cowan, who has pleaded not guilty to murder, indecent dealing and interfering with a corpse, has told undercover officers he dumped the body at the site the bones were found and simply covered him with leaves and branches from the forest floor in December, 2003.

The bones were found between August 20 and September 9, 2011.

Ms MacGregor said the soil had a 5.5 pH level which meant it was acidic and would have had a "dramatic effect on bone preservation".

She said it would have caused the bone remains to break down "reasonably quickly" over time.

New Zealand forensic scientist Catherine McGovern said she believed an upper arm bone she examined was 540 times more likely to come from Daniel Morcombe than from the rest of the Queensland population.

Ms McGovern, appearing via video-link in Brisbane Supreme Court, said she found no DNA profile from a thigh bone but obtained six out of 26 possible results from the upper arm bone.

She said she tested this against a full DNA profile she obtained from Daniel's toothbrush.

 

Dectectives describe waiting to arrest Brett Peter Cowan

HIDING behind a log pile at the Glasshouse Mountains search, a Sunshine Coast detective has described waiting with another detective moments before police arrested Brett Peter Cowan over Daniel Morcombe's disappearance.

Detective Sergeant Graeme Farlow said he and Detective Senior Sergeant Daren Edwards had received information from other police to be at Lot 1 at 510 Kings Road at Glasshouse Mountains about 9.30am on August 13.

While he was "secreted" by the log pile, he said he saw a Toyota Hilux drive onto the property with Mr Cowan and two other men he believed were undercover police men from Western Australia about 11am.

Sgt Farlow said he saw detectives Stephen Blanchfield, who was videoing, and Ross Hutton approach the vehicle shortly before Mr Cowan was placed under arrest.

He said following numerous briefings, he became the crime scene manager responsible for co-ordinating the searches at the Kings Road sites - Lot 1, Lot 2 and Coochin Creek.

Sgt Farlow said he also was responsible for maintaining an accurate register of what was found and for securely transporting items found for further analysis or for secure keeping.

He said he went to Brisbane, Adelaide and New Zealand with bone samples, as well as transporting DNA samples from Daniel's family.

 

Police officer not surprised he found no trace of Daniel while searching car of accused

A POLICE scientific officer was not surprised when he found no trace of Daniel Morcombe while searching a white four-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Pajero eight years after it allegedly transported the teen.

Ashley Martin Huth said he took swabs from a large number of places inside the vehicle from the front passenger and driver seats right through the back of the car to where Brett Peter Cowan claimed he put a mulcher the day Daniel went missing.

Brisbane Supreme Court heard during opening addresses that Mr Cowan told undercover police he was driving a Pajero in 2003 when he allegedly abducted Daniel.

Senior Constable Huth said he also used A4 pieces of sticky tape to capture hair, fibres and botanical material, and did presumptive testing for blood.

He said there was no DNA profile, no blood and no other items of interest located.

"Eight years' time, you have to consider the condition of the vehicle and when I examined it, it was very weathered and in poor condition," he said.

"I'm not surprised that I got not DNA profiles."

The court heard he examined the car in August, 2011, and again that September. But it had already been examined before in December, 2003.

Snr Const Huth said he was also present with another specialist to examine shoes found at the Glasshouse Mountains search site and two pairs of Daniel's shoes his parents had given for analysis.

Topics:  brett peter cowan daniel morcombe editors picks



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