‘Cruel and unjust’: Morcombe family’s heartache to recover Daniel’s remains

Daniel Morcombe's family have revealed the heartache they felt when their son's remains were found. Source: Getty

The story of Daniel Morcombe and his family is one that has resonated with people all over the country for 15 years. Although his abductor and murderer is now behind bars, Daniel’s parents Bruce and Denise have revealed the pain didn’t end when their son’s remains were finally located.

Speaking exclusively to The Weekend Australian Magazine, Bruce explained the forensic and legal processes to recover Daniel’s remains caused them trauma when all they wanted to do was lay their son to rest.

Although there wasn’t a lot of their 13-year-old son’s remains to collect, it was something extremely important to the Morcombe family. Still, they had to fight long and hard for them.

“We had to fight the system to have Daniel’s remains released to the family for his funeral,” Bruce told The Weekend Australian Magazine. “This was cruel and unjust.”

Read more: Denise and Bruce’s emotional tribute to Daniel on 14th anniversary

According to Bruce, Daniel’s remains were withheld from the family for years until all avenues of appeal had been exhausted by Daniel’s killer, Brett Peter Cowan. He also said that the Queensland Police, State Coroner and Director of Public Prosecutions argued over who had control over Daniel’s remains.

Bruce also claimed Daniel was treated as evidence and that the Morcombes felt bullied by the system.

“We were horrified,” Bruce added. “Daniel was not a recovered stolen TV.”

According to The Australian, an autopsy can be ordered without consent from a victim’s family. While family members views can be considered, the coroner has the final say.

As you’ll recall, Daniel went missing on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland in 2003, sparking one of the biggest police investigations in Queensland history. On the day of his disappearance, Daniel had planned to catch a bus to his local shopping centre to purchase Christmas presents for his family.

When his bus failed to pick him up, Cowan offered Daniel a lift and took him to his house where it is believed he was murdered. Cowan was brought to justice for his disturbing crime in 2014, when he was sentenced to life in jail with a minimum non-parole period of 20 years.

In May, Cowan was stabbed in the Neck and ear during a violent attack at Wolston prison, one of many attacks on the killer since he’s been behind bars. Meanwhile, both Bruce and Denise continue to fight for child safety.

Read more: Daniel Morcombe’s killer stabbed in neck in jail attack

The pair set up the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to provide children with protection, education and support. While spreading the message of child safety, they also support families of missing people and victims of crime.

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