Saturday, 8 December 2012

'It will be sad seeing Daniel leaving the church': Denise

Daniel James Morcombe

News was publish yesterday, 7th December 2012 by Sunshine Coast Daily.

BRUCE and Denise Morcombe say it will be hard watching their son Daniel being taken from the church to the cemetery today but they will be fulfilling a vow to see that he is buried with dignity.

The couple have spent a frantic few days trying to pull Daniel's funeral service together after having his remains released by the Coroner only late last week.

For the past two weeks they have also been attending the committal hearing of the man accused of abducting and murdering Daniel.

But yesterday they were confident they had done all they could to ensure a special farewell for their Dan.

"The service will be very beautiful,'' Bruce Morcombe said.

"Denise has spent a lot of time on that with a lot of helpers.''

"I'm sure it will be something respectful to remember Daniel as he should be - a fine young boy.''

"We hope to move forward to finally say goodbye.''

"It will be sad seeing Daniel leaving the church and going to the cemetery but we have always said we wanted him buried with dignity and the church service will be the best way we are able to give him that,'' Denise said.

"I think he will be pretty proud.''

In a wide-ranging interview with Channel 9's A Current Affair, the Morcombes opened up about the impact Daniel's loss had on not only them but his brothers Dean and twin Bradley.

They said while they had always put on a brave public face, privately there had been many 'dark days'.

"The faces you see are not the faces you see at the kitchen at home,'' Bruce said.

"There's certainly dark days and there's certainly tears at home.''

"We very rarely present that to the public.''

Asked if there had been rocky times in their marriage, they said there had been 'plenty of them', just as with other marriages.

"I think we have stuck together because we are both going through the same emotional turmoil,'' Denise said.

"If I have a bad day Bruce will 'kick me in the ribs' and say get up again.

"If he is having a bad day, I'll tell him off.''

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Daniel Morcombe farwelled in touching celebration of life

Baby Daniel

News was publish yesterday, 7th December 2012 by Sunshine Coast Daily.

THE funeral service for Daniel Morcombe has been a touching tribute to a young boy whose life was cut tragically short.

The service celebrated the life of a loved son, brother and friend.

It also paid tribute to the many who have been touched in so many ways since young Daniel first disappeared.

Police, SES volunteers and others who played a vital part in searching for Daniel were honoured and tributes were given by Daniel's brother Dean and father, Bruce.

The work of the Daniel Morcombe Foundation was celebrated for its role in increasing awareness of danger to thousands of children across the state.

Daniel's coffin left Sippy Downs to applause as his family headed to a private service.

Thousands who attended today's service joined in a guard of honour for Daniel's final farewell.

Daniel's parents arrived shortly before the scheduled start time of the funeral as family, friends and community members gathered to share in their grief.

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and former Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson also made their way into the church.

The doors to the church opened at 10am and the steady stream of mourners continued through the morning, despite steady rain.

All people attending the church were expected to be seated at 10.45am, 15 minutes before the service was due to start.

>> View the Sunshine Coast Daily's front page tribute to Daniel

Work by volunteers early this morning, including students from Siena College, insured all was in readiness for the funeral.

Singing rehearsals were held and a media briefing was conducted early, ahead of the arrival of members of the public.

Rain fell steadily for most of the morning but the community worked together in a show of respect for Daniel and his family.

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Daniel Morcombe returned to his family's care

Mourners, including his immediate family, wore red as requested to farewell Daniel Morcombe, who was last seen alive in December 2003.

News was publish today, 8th December 2012 by The Australian.au.

THE bereaved father of murdered teenager Daniel Morcombe has implored Australians not to feel sad about his son's funeral because Daniel has finally been returned to his family.

Nine years after the teenager vanished from the Sunshine Coast, a 2000-strong funeral of family, friends and complete strangers gathered at St Catherine of Siena Catholic Church to commemorate Daniel's life.

Daniel's father, Bruce Morcombe, said nine years ago, to the day, a "moment in time that will live with us forever" occurred when evil was visited on them.

"I appeal to you all, please do not be sad," Mr Morcombe said.

"Appreciate that the evil act which took Daniel happened a long time ago. Today is about embracing his return to family and being reflective of what might have been."

Daniel disappeared from the roadside while waiting for a bus to go Christmas shopping on December 7, 2003, sparking the country's biggest missing persons investigation. Yesterday, Australians watched on through a live telecast as a still-wrapped Christmas present from 2003, a report card and a school photo that Daniel never got the chance to receive were placed on his coffin by his parents, Bruce and Denise.

The stoic and gently relentless pair sat between Daniel's older brother Dean and Daniel's twin Bradley for the requiem mass.

But when the opening song played an ashen-faced Mrs Morcombe sobbed. Her husband quietly held her hand.

Daniel's white casket, topped with red roses -- the colour that has come to symbolise a child-protection foundation in his name -- was draped in a pall during the service. Later it was borne by his brothers through a 150m honour guard of former schoolfriends and current students.

In a eulogy Dean said his little brother was a gifted student who loved animals and motocross.

A video montage of Daniel's short life showed the progression from a baby, through childhood, then ominously on to SES search crews, police divers and Daniel's image on the side of a milk carton.

It concluded with the words of former Queensland police commissioner Bob Atkinson when Daniel's alleged killer was charged. "It's an answer. It's a very sad answer but it's an answer," Mr Atkinson said.

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Daniel Morcombe finally put to rest nine years after he went out for presents and never came back

Daniel James Morcombe

News was publish yesterday, 7th December 2012 by Herald Sun.

ONE by one they start appearing. A woman with a red scarf, a man in a red shirt. The closer you get to the Sunshine Coast, the more people you see wearing red - red socks, red ties, red skirts, red dresses.

By the time you get to the beautiful school chapel at Sippy Downs where a 13-year-old boy was finally farewelled and laid to rest, a boy who should now be a young man starting out on life, there was a sea of red, a blazing red ocean of love.

See more pictures from the funeral here

Red was the colour of the shirt Daniel Morcombe was wearing the day he disappeared nine years ago.

It is the colour chosen by the foundation created in his name to symbolise safety awareness for children.

In the hands of the Morcombe family it has become the colour of hope and celebration.

Daniel Morcombe is forever frozen in the public imagination as a smiling, good-looking boy who went out to buy Christmas presents one morning and never came back.

Read the eulogies in full here

In the hard years since his abduction, his courageous and dignified mum and dad, Denise and Bruce, became Australia's most famous grieving parents.

But yesterday in a chapel open on all four sides to the air and the light, a chapel where an ordinary boy once sat just like all other ordinary kids who keep on being ordinary because the extraordinary mercifully never seeks them out, it was much-loved, ordinary Daniel who was remembered.

Daniel, champion arm-wrestler, fan of World Championship Wrestling, of dirt-bike riding. Daniel, mean maker of spaghetti bolognaise.

It was this ordinary kid who brought the oceans of people in red, many of whom never met him, but who felt an echo of the shock which ran through Daniel's parents, his grand-parents, his cousins, his older brother Dean and most especially his twin, Bradley, when the awful truth dawned that he might never come back.

GALLERY: The Daniel Morcombe story

It was Daniel from Siena Catholic College they came for in the rain.

The female police officer in her blue uniform with a slash of red lipstick because it was the only red thing she could find.

The two little girls in red shirts, India, 11, and Sienna, 8, sitting with their mum Tarn Davies from Peregian Beach, who works in child safety.

The girls have never been to a funeral before and have taken the day off school because their mum believes it's important they attend.

"There's just not enough child security in the world," she says. And here are other ordinary boys wearing Daniel's old school uniform, wiping down the rain-splattered chairs before the service.

See more pictures from the funeral here

Boys much like Daniel must have been, ribbing each other, careful of their hair in the wet.

Boys just beginning to notice girls, wearing red twists of ribbon pinned to their grey school shirts, or red cotton at their wrists.

Here are the Siena College girls, handing out red ribbons with safety pins.

Here are all the thousands of ordinary people - the SES workers, the police officers, the workers from nearby Australia Zoo, the volunteers, the mothers and fathers whose hearts went out to a frightened boy and his family.

The television crews have been setting up since 3am, and the traffic built up hours before the 11am service.

At the turn-off to the school road, a local business, T and G Sand and Gravel Centre, put out a sign reading "Farewell Daniel".

Soon, on the enormous wide screen set up outside the chapel so that the overflowing crowd can see the service, India spots someone famous.

"Who was the prime minister before Julia Gillard?" she asks. It's Kevin Rudd.

Then there's the white coffin of an ordinary boy, covered in red roses. Bruce and Denise are sitting in front of it, Denise's hands shaking, and the crowd watching outside on plastic chairs grows quiet.

Denise lowers her eyes, as if she can no longer bear to look up. Tarn Davies instinctively cradles her children. After the hymns, the liturgy of the sacrament, after his brother Dean and twin Bradley have spoken and all the prayers have flown up, there are cups of tea and biscuits for everyone in the school hall.

Then that immensely brave and unbreakable family bear the coffin from the chapel, down through the column of boys and girls, and out to the silver hearse, tied with red ribbons.

In private they will bury their precious child in the earth, the crowds dressed in red will separate and drift away, and life will go on.

The Morcombes want the short life of their son Daniel James not to be wasted, and for the darkness to be broken by the light.

SPECIAL PRESENTATION: Behind the search for Daniel Morcombe

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Friday, 7 December 2012

Daniel Morcombe funeral - Listen to the service

Daniel and his twin, Bradley

News was publish today, 7th December 2012 by ABC.net.au.

Final preparations are being made for Queensland teenager Daniel Morcombe's funeral on the Sunshine Coast tomorrow, nine years to the day since his abduction.

About 3,000 people are expected to attend the service at Siena Catholic College at Sippy Downs, which is the school Daniel and his brothers attended before the 13-year-old boy's murder.

Tomorrow there will be a requiem mass, a guard of honour, and a large television to broadcast the service outside the St Catherine of Siena church.

With approval from the family, ABC Radio will be attending the funeral and will be broadcasting the service online. The broadcast from the church will start at 8:30am with the funeral scheduled to begin at 11:00am (AEST).

Join the Morcombe family, the Sunshine Coast community and the ABC in farewelling Daniel Morcombe.

The Morcombe family has asked those attending the requiem mass to wear red, which was the colour of the shirt the teenager was last seen wearing.

College principal Graeme Hight says students and teachers from schools across the Sunshine Coast are doing everything they can to support the Morcombes.

"Our school students, past and present, will be doing the mass," he said.

"A number of our teachers will be involved in terms of the liturgy, handing out communion, a whole range of things there.

"There is a thing called the spirit of Siena and there is an enormous community spirit.

"We have had donations to assist one family actually gave a significant cash donation to help with this."

Mr Hight says the Morcombes have chose the right place to say goodbye to their son. "Daniel did year eight and nine here at Siena," he said.

"He had an older brother at the time, Dean, and Bradley was his twin.

"That says something to a lot of our staff who are very grateful that the Morcombes see Siena as an important part of their lives and have brought Daniel back here to say farewell to him."

Father Joe Duffy says the funeral will include a requiem mass and procession with a guard of honour.

"The first part we call the tributes and that's the part where there are some speeches made, and then there's a picture show," he said.

"The family asked for a requiem mass so that follows.

"There's what's called a commendation and after that the casket's carried in procession out of the church.

"There'll be a guard of honour that's at least 150 metres long and I think that's something that a lot of people will want to take part in."

Almost nine years after Daniel Morcombe disappeared while waiting for a bus on the Sunshine Coast, his accused murderer is set to face a committal hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

Look back on a timeline of the key developments in the search for Daniel, the police investigation, and the case against Brett Peter Cowan.

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Nine years ago today, Daniel Morcombe went missing. Today he will be remembered in a public funeral service

Bradley and Daniel

News was publish today, 7th December 2012 by The Australian.

DANIEL James Morcombe was a brave boy who made his parents proud.

Today, as Bruce and Denise Morcombe lay their son to rest, they hope he is proud of them - and they want the world to remember the life he lived.

His first steps. His favourite stuffed toy, old bear. His love of all creatures great and small.

His quiet, loving nature with a little bit of mischief and a large dose of strength and determination.

These are just some of the things that set Daniel apart, making him so special to his family and friends.

SPECIAL PRESENTATION: Behind the search for Daniel Morcombe

"All of us have gained strength from Daniel," Mr Morcombe told The Courier-Mail.

"He was a loving son, trusted friend and a good kid who enjoyed life.

"I think the Australian public have taken and embraced that little boy because of his eyes and his smile. In every photo they pick up, there's that happy kid.

"They have always wondered what happened to that boy in the red T-shirt.

"We are all better people for having Daniel come into our lives.

"He wasn't able to grow up into a young man but he had special qualities - he was very loyal and very loving.

"He was a cherished family member."

This week, Mrs Morcombe shared her memories of Daniel, reminiscing about his christening on a freezing winter's day in Melbourne in 1990, childhood toys and the last present he gave her before he disappeared.

"In Year 9, Daniel made a wooden box at school and gave it to me," she said.

"One day he said: 'Are you going to use it?'

"I said: 'Yes, one day I'll put some special things in it.'

"Little did I know. It's now filled with his special things."

His special things include drawings, letters and a toy motocross bike.

Mrs Morcombe still has Daniel's favourite stuffed toy.

"That was old bear. He loved old bear," she said.

"He was sewn and stitched and hot-glued back together. It's seen better days. The bear probably has a few stories."

In their own words, the treasured moments in Daniel's life that Bruce and Denise Morcombe most vividly remember; birth, first day at school, presents for mum, family holidays and birthday parties.

ONLY IN TODAY'S PRINT EDITION OF THE COURIER-MAIL.

Mrs Morcombe said Daniel was an affectionate son - he would pick flowers for his mum to show how much he loved her - and inseparable from twin, Bradley. They were born eight weeks premature on December 19, 1989.

"Daniel and Bradley were always together," she said. "They were a bit mischievous. Bradley was always the bigger talker. Daniel was a lot quieter and Bradley used to talk for him too.

"A couple of weeks after their first birthday they walked.

"I think Bradley walked first but they were pretty much at the same time."

Daniel also loved animals, especially his miniature horse called Bullet, and was always cradling their cats.

"When they were babies I had to shoo the cat out of their room because I was afraid he'd sleep on them," she said.

Thousands will gather on the Sunshine Coast today to celebrate Daniel's legacy and remember the short life of a boy who touched the heart of a nation, inspired a child-safety revolution and gave his parents the strength to go on. Daniel will be farewelled at Siena Catholic College, where the diligent student harboured dreams of one day becoming a vet.

Take up the Morcombe's invitation to attend Daniel's public funeral. Watch it here, streamed live from 11am local time (12pm AEDT).

The day after Daniel disappeared while waiting for a bus at Woombye nine years ago, his father made a vow.

"On the evening of Monday December 8, 2003, I silently promised to him I would never give up," Mr Morcombe said.

Today they will finally bury their boy, who was at the centre of Australia's highest-profile missing person's case, after almost a decade of searching.

"Even though we've had years and years of mental preparation, suddenly we had to go to a funeral director and have a look at a coffin and organise flowers and pick a grave plot at a cemetery," Mr Morcombe said.

"Even though we had years of knowing 'well, he isn't coming home' we had never done any of that - not one bit.

"It's horrible doing that for your own child.

"It's still bad preparing a funeral for an elderly parent but you know that's part of life's cycle.

"For a kid it's not the way it should be."

Beneath the Morcombes' bravery and behind their child-safety crusade remains their private pain.

Mr Morcombe urged others not to be sad about what was undoubtedly for them the saddest homecoming.

He has tried to remain positive as he wrote a eulogy and steeled himself to deliver it at a service that will be beamed into living rooms around the country.

"I have probably been a better father to Daniel in the last nine years than I was in his first 14," he said.

"It is a sad reflection but I, like most fathers, wish I had spent more one-on-one time with him and cherished those moments.

"This has been a huge motivating factor in my relentless search for the truth."

GALLERY: The Daniel Morcombe story

While Mr Morcombe appears stoic, dignified and patient, Mrs Morcombe's eyes reflect her perpetual torment.

The past 12 months have delivered her the answers she feared. She will no longer search for Daniel's face in the crowd.

"I've been pretty sad all week," she said.

"It's something that we wanted but not something you look forward to.

"I'm not looking forward to walking into that church and seeing the casket there. When they carry Daniel out - that's going to be the saddest part."

Last week Daniel was brought home to the Sunshine Coast after his family was granted permission to receive his remains.

The significant development followed months of legal wrangling over which authority had the final say on whether Daniel's remains could be released.

Brett Peter Cowan, 43, has been charged with child stealing, deprivation of liberty, indecent treatment, murder and interfering with a corpse.

His committal hearing was yesterday adjourned until February.

His lawyers said he intended to plead not guilty to all charges.

EDITORIAL: Morcombes in our thoughts

The Morcombes, whose lives were irrevocably changed on this day nine years ago, said their blue-eyed boy with the beautiful smile would not be forgotten.

"We've got to look at some positives going forward and the foundation is Daniel's legacy," Mr Morcombe said.

They said they could at least take comfort from knowing their son would now, finally, rest in peace.

Take up the Morcombe's invitation to attend Daniel's public funeral. Watch it here, streamed live from 11am local time (12pm AEDT).

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A day for Daniel

Daniel James Morcombe

News was publish today, 7th December 2012 by Brisbane Times.

Nine years ago today, a young Sunshine Coast teenager left his family home to buy Christmas presents for his loved ones.

It was a trip he had done many times before; after all, he would be 14 in another 12 days and he had grown up in the area. Walking down the road to catch a bus wasn't an unusual act for a child the boy's age.

This was Palmwoods; a small, picturesque suburb of the family-friendly Sunshine Coast.

Those things people read about in the news happened in other places.

He'd been fruit picking on a neighbour's farm with his brothers in the morning. The boys had meant to go to a Christmas lunch later in the day in Brisbane with their parents, but it had rained, delaying them, so the three siblings opted to stay on the Sunshine Coast instead.

The boy needed to get a haircut and wanted to sneak some gifts into the house. He asked his brothers to go with him, but they were busy, doing things teenage boys do, so the boy shrugged, and wearing a red T-shirt and his favourite sneakers, left the house.

It was December 7, 2003.

As he had countless times before, he walked along the Woombye-Palmwoods Road towards an unofficial bus stop under the Kiel Mountain overpass on the Nambour Connection Road.

He wanted to catch the 1.35pm bus, but he couldn't have known it was delayed, broken down at a nearby stop, sending the Sunbus time table into chaos.

At 2pm, the boy was seen on the east side of the road, still waiting for the bus.

At 2.14pm, or there abouts, the 1.35pm replacement bus finally went past. But the driver had been tasked with taking the people from the broken down bus directly to the shops. The driver saw the boy, but didn't stop. There was another bus right behind him, the driver had been told. The boy would be picked up.

That second bus, not even three minutes behind the first, had been sent to pick up those people, like the boy, waiting at the bus stops.

That bus driver was aware there was a boy waiting under the overpass. But when he drove past there, just 120 seconds or so later, the boy was gone.

In those 45 minutes, the boy, still nameless to so many on the Sunshine Coast, was seen by mothers, fathers, grandparents and teenagers waiting on the side of the road.

Later, many would report they saw a man, or a man and a woman, or two men, standing near the boy.

Later – much later – they would tell police officers taking their statements, that they were uncomfortable with the scene, that they had been concerned for the child. But no one stopped.

And now, nine years on, everyone on the Sunshine Coast, maybe the state, knows Daniel Morcombe's name.

A 42-year-old man has been charged with his abduction and murder. Brett Peter Cowan's arrest came in August last year, the same month when searchers found 17 skeletal elements, two sneakers and some scraps of clothes on a Glass House Mountains property on Kings Road.

But today, Friday December 7, 2012, the day Daniel Morcombe finally comes home to his parents Denise and Bruce and his brothers, Dean and Bradley, is not a day for Brett Peter Cowan.

It's not a day for regret or anger. Of accusations or recriminations. It's a day for the young boy with the striking eyes whose smile beamed down on us for years from posters and news reports. A day for the boy with a gentle nature, who loved animals and his family.

A day to celebrate the life of a boy, who, through his family, has left a legacy of protection and awareness, whose disappearance made a state stand up and say "never again", whose name has become a beacon of hope for the most vulnerable and fragile among us; children who have experienced unspeakable horror and must now find a way to move on.

The name Daniel Morcombe means a lot of things to different people. For parents, he's a reason to hold their own children a little tighter at night. For police, it became a mantra to never give up. For those who just followed the story on the news, his name was synonymous with those clich├ęs we use when we don't have the words to articulate the horror “a loss of innocence”, “every parent's worst nightmare” and a call to arms to do what they could to help.

But for those who knew Daniel, the boy – not the symbol or the investigation – the name Daniel Morcombe means love, home and family. A lost boy, found. Broken hearts filled with renewed purpose.

Above all, Daniel James Morcombe was the beloved son of Bruce and Denise, adored brother of Dean and Bradley, doted-on grandson of Kevin and Monique and mischievous friend to his Siena Catholic College classmates, now adults themselves.

It's that Daniel who will be celebrated at 11am this morning, in the church inside the grounds where he went to school, surrounded by those who knew him best and love him still.

His family have asked those who attend to wear a splash of red in honour of their boy and the foundation which has become his legacy.

Instead of flowers, they hope people will send donations to the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, so they can continue helping those children that need it most and raising child safety awareness.

This goodbye, by no means final, has snuck up on the Morcombes. They only found out Daniel was to be released back to them and returned home this time last week.

They expect thousands to attend the memorial service they have planned. Nine years after he was that anonymous boy on the side of the road, Daniel's memory and story has been embraced by millions.

Today will mean one chapter in that story closes, but it will not bring closure.

That's an impossible ideal.

But for one day, the Morcombes, still so private a family despite their public profile, will be at the centre of millions of thoughts and prayers, as they share their son's life, not his disappearance, with those who never had the chance to know him.

They have asked for happy memories. For a celebration. And while there will be tears and grief, they hope there will be smiles.

And for a family who are sharing so much, a smile in response to the favourite memories of their little boy really doesn't seem too much to give.

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