The parents of slain Queensland schoolboy Daniel Morcombe are calling for greater consultation with victims’ families over the release of remains.
The parents of murdered Queensland schoolboy Daniel Morcombe say they never want another family to endure the battle they had to claim their son’s remains and give him a dignified funeral.
Bruce and Denise Morcombe on Tuesday released a book about their 10-year fight for justice for their son, who was abducted from a Sunshine Coast bus stop in 2003 when he was 13 and murdered by serial child sex offender Brett Peter Cowan.
They finally achieved that in March when Cowan was convicted of Daniel’s murder.
The crime sparked an outpouring of grief across the nation, and saw the Morcombes commit their lives to educating children about personal safety.
In launching Where is Daniel? in Brisbane on Tuesday, Mr Morcombe said the book ranged over the most painful period his family had ever endured, and would give readers a glimpse of some of their most harrowing moments.
One of the most painful moment for the family was their heart-breaking wait to bury their son.
More than a year passed between the discovery of the boy’s remains at a secluded Sunshine Coast farm in 2011 and the time when they were finally able to give him a funeral.
Mr Morcombe said that aspect of the book was important because it was clear things had to change, and families must be better consulted on such raw issues.
He said authorities had suggested Daniel’s remains would need to be kept as evidence until after Cowan’s trial, and possibly until after any appeal.
“Those behind-the-scenes meetings illustrated to us in no uncertain terms that Daniel’s remains were evidence … they were termed ‘a thing’,” he said.
But Mr Morcombe said the family never stopped fighting, and in the end Daniel’s remains were released before Cowan was convicted.
He was buried with a full requiem mass attended by police and SES volunteers who had crawled through mud to find him.
“We have illustrated how difficult it was,” Mr Morcombe said.
“We have made a bit of stand and suggested we need to make this cleaner for somebody else going forward.”
The Morcombes also discuss in the book the frustration they felt during the early stages of the police investigation.
“We’ve certainly highlighted where we thought things could have been done in a more timely way, but we’re all smart in hindsight” he said.
Cowan has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a non parole period of 20 years, but is appealing his conviction.