By Kent Gordon and Gemma Deavin.
The Daniel Morcombe case was one of Australia’s biggest criminal investigations, but it was small-town lawyer Peter Boyce who played a vital role in ending the Morcombe family’s decade-long search for Daniel and his killer.
“One cannot talk about Peter without mentioning his significant role in finding Daniel and finding the person responsible,” Bruce Morcombe told Australian Story.
“[He’s] the person front and centre that’s helped us pretty well from day one.”
Mr Boyce, a lawyer in the small south-east Queensland town of Nambour, did not know the Morcombes, but as a local was shocked by and drawn to the case.
"We'd been away on holidays, came back and there was this story... we couldn't believe it," he said.
"No-one ever thought that could happen in our area.
"I could see the pain, the hurt, the sense of loss and I thought, 'well at least I can do something as a lawyer'.
"I couldn't just walk away, and I wouldn't."
Mr Boyce helped Bruce and Denise start the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to keep the investigation into their son's disappearance in the public and police eye.
"In May 2005 we had our first Daniel Morcombe Foundation committee meeting," Denise Morcombe said.
"Peter came to our second meeting and basically hasn't left the foundation since."
Mr Boyce's involvement increased when the Morcombes began to push for a coronial inquest in July 2009.
Mr Morcombe said their desire for an inquest was never a sign they were "cranky" about the police investigation.
"It was really saying thanks very much, we appreciate your efforts, now it's time for a review of that," he said.
News Corp journalist Kirstin Shorten followed the case and said at that stage, the Morcombes were increasingly frustrated by the way the police investigation was handled, but that "they always identified that they were on the same side".
Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon said there were frustrations from time to time because they were not getting the results they had hoped for.
"The Daniel Morcombe investigation was a very long and protracted investigation," he said.
"We were conscious that Bruce and Denise wanted answers."
When the coronial inquest was announced in 2010, the Morcombes initially planned to represent themselves.
"Peter said 'who's representing you?' And quite casually I said, 'well, Denise and I'," Mr Morcombe said.
"And his face just drained with blood."
Mr Boyce told Mr Morcombe it was not a good idea and that they would "get slaughtered because [they] don't know the system".
It was then that Mr Boyce stepped in as their lawyer.
"Peter was there day and night for months and months and months, reading the police brief and assisting Bruce," Mrs Morcombe said.
"He wanted to find the answer as much as us."
And he did it for free.
"It wasn't a matter of us coming up with all this money to pay a lawyer," Mrs Morcombe said.
"Peter Boyce did all of this for free - he wouldn't take any money at all."