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



Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

A CITY drenched in culture, Brisbane is again flaunting an arts and culture events calendar fit for a queen.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Six reasons to get to Brisbane this Autumn

The Brisbane Powerhouse has free comedy on Friday nights.

AUTUMN has to be up there with one of the best seasons of the year.

The best things to do in Brisbane are FREE. Yes, FREE

Mt Coot-tha is a seriously gorgeous way to start your day.

HEADING to the big smoke doesn’t have to come with a big price tag.

What's fresh at your local farmers' market

The pecan harvest is just beginning, so you will find a good selection at the markets from now. PHOTO: KATE O'NEILL

Pecans and cauliflowers among the new buys, as well as a great tea

Careers Australia fails: 15,000 students, 1000 staff gone

Group's 1000 staff sent an email that they had been stood down

Local Partners

Charity has grand plans to help people help themselves

A charity that helps homeless and needy has opened a new shop in a bid to raise money to fund a venture that will feed and skill the very people it supports.


What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

Gig guide: Get the blues in Broadbeach

Russell Morris will perform at The Star Gold Coast as part of Blues on Broadbeach on Friday, May 19

Festival fun and top shelf gigs

Tweed's weekend gig guide

Wally and the Gators play Club Banora on Saturday night

What's on in the Tweed

Fire up the disco ball for a big weekend of gigs

70's icons head a big line up of gigs

Take a walk along the Murwillumbah Art Trail

WORK OF ART: "Workers Store” acrylic on canvas by Scott McDougall, one of the artists featured in the Murwillumbah Art Trail.

Get to know Tweed's amazing artists.

Model Bella Hadid's see-through dress shocks in Cannes

US model Bella Hadid attends the Cinema Against AIDS amfAR gala 2017 held at the Hotel du Cap, Eden Roc in Cap d'Antibes, France, 25 May 2017.

It’s like she’s become addicted to shock value.

No room for morbid fans

Chris Cornell.

Fans want to stay in the hotel room where Chris Cornell died

Star Wars' 1977 Stormtrooper head banger confesses

A Stormtrooper is responsible for the biggest blunder in a Star Wars movie. Picture: Supplied

Man in most famous blooper in Star Wars history breaks silence

Lyn's knock-out show gets her to next round on The Voice

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS: Lyn Bowtell is through to the battle rounds on The Voice.

'It was bitter sweet to win like that'

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!