There is no comfort that can be taken from the death of Daniel Morcombe, but the extraordinary lengths a group of tenacious detectives went to to bring closure to his devastated family is remarkable. This is their story.
The kidnapping of Daniel Morcombe haunts all parents. Now that the trial is underway against his alleged killer, details are emerging of the lengths police went to in order to trap him into a confession. They never gave up and it’s because of them that the accused is finally on trial. He’s how they did it.
The kidnapping and murder of Sunshine Coast boy Daniel Morcombe shocked the nation. How could a 13-year-old boy disappear from the face of the earth without a trace? The search for Daniel never stopped. It took almost a decade from the day that bus failed to stop for him on December 7, 2003 until the inquest into his death that his parent had to fight to take place. A suspect finally emerged.
Brett Peter Cowan appeared at the coronial inquest into Daniel’s death that took place in Brisbane in 2011. His story just didn’t add up but there was nothing solid to go on.
What police did next is nothing short of extraordinary.
After the inquest an undercover police officer boarded Cowan’s flight from Brisbane back to his home in Perth and befriended him. He told Cowan his name was Joe. The two started talking and Joe told Cowan he was part of a national crime syndicate with friends in high places. He told Cowan they could ‘fix’ anything.
Cowan must have already been feeling nervous about the attention being directed his way at the inquest. Joe offered him a way out.
It took months for the fake crime gang to gain Cowan’s trust. The Brisbane Times reporting from the trial explained how the court was told just how they managed to recruit Cowan. They explained to him that their gang lived by three mantras – loyalty, respect and honesty. These three mantras had be demonstrated before Cowan would be allowed to properly participate in the gang’s activities.