Monday, August 22, 2011

When a boy goes missing...

Last week I met 2 inspirational people. Last week I found out when delivering books back to my local library that Sunshine Coast couple I had watched through the media were visiting that week to chat, they are (as they said) an ordinary mum & dad. I have listened & read stories of their progress (and lack of) via local news & papers, I have watched, and prayed for these strangers and felt anger, empathy, sadness & fear.


Almost 8 years ago this ordinary couple & their family were shattered by a cruel turn of fate... in this safe community, their son Daniel was waiting for a bus by the side of a road, it was running late having broken down earlier, and although he flagged for it to stop, the bus didn't stop, the decision was made to leave the young teen alone by the side of the road, he had been waiting to go to the Plaza to buy Christmas presents for his family... several witnesses in the bus & other passing vehicles saw Daniel, they also saw a shadowy unkempt man lurking nearby.
Daniel was gone by the time the next bus arrived shortly after.
This is the stuff of nightmares and the Morecombe family's has been never ending from that day in December 2003. From that day people on the Sunshine Coast & around Australia realised that monsters lurk, real monsters and they live in our communities.




Denise & Bruce Morecombe somehow turned this tragic incident on it's head, they took that flithy hand fate deal them & they transformed it into something pure & good. They have never given up looking for their beautiful son, as they said, the abductor picked the wrong family... They started the Daniel Morecombe Foundation to educate children on the dangers in the environment, those dangers from strangers or even family members, what to do, how to get help... they also work with the police in helping children & families who are victims of crime, whether it's paying for singing tuition to help the child who hadn't spoken since she witnessed her mother's murder or working with the police and government bodies to bring in a new hand signal which will be nationally (& maybe globally) recognised as a call for help or assistance by anyone who uses it. The Foundation gives FREE brochures, bookmarks & videos to anyone who requests them, teachers can show them to their students, parents share them with their children... their work is voluntary, Bruce said it gives he & Denise a reason to get up everyday... and everyday they wait...



Then...



Last Saturday a 41 year old Perth man - Brett Peter Cowan, father of 3, was charged with Daniel's murder, since the arrest police & SES volunteers have been digging in swamp bushland not far from Australia Zoo, in Beerwah they have uncovered shoes which match Daniels when he went missing, and 3 human bones which today have been sent for DNA testing. In the rain & under difficult conditions, the police & SES volunteers continue searching as I write.


The arrested man has given a 'not guilty' plea, but if evidence is found this may change. Partly as a result of this & campagining the Australian government has just passed a law that GPS trackers will be used to monitor dangerous sex offenders released back into the community.


I watched over 8 years hoping the Morecombe family would somehow find their son & in those 8 years became suspicious of cars hanging around my children's bus stops that were unfamiliar, I wondered as I drove by rugged bushland if Daniel remains may be there, I dreamt of him, and I saw his sweet parents in the library & choked back on tears because there was nothing I could do to change the haunted look in their beautiful eyes. I learnt of how many children are in danger from the pedophiles released un-named into our communities every day & how the criminals released become more cunning,.. & violent, I hear they come up in car pools & watch the young boys & girls who innocently take part in the Nippers beach activities. The Morecome's gave practical advice on we need to protect our youth through education & awareness... the Morecombe's are everyday people that are heroes, they are driven by a passion to keep our kids safe... 


I wanted to share this to show that this little boy touched the hearts & minds of so many, was the catalyst of a national surge that is changing government policies, and shocked the nation into the reality that in the 'lucky' country, there are predators living in our communities, and all must do their part to protect the future & safety of our children. Most Australians & their children know Daniel's story, it is told & lesson's are learnt, but at the heart of it all, it is real & an unbelievable tragic cost to one family.

20 comments:

Jenny said...

Oh Shelle, such a sad and tragic story and yet out of it, as you said, such inspiration and generosity... my heart goes out to this wonderful family... and I can totally understand how you felt at the library... it still sends shivers down my spine when I think of it...

Jenny x

artistamyjo said...

Such a tragic story Shelle,something all parents have is fear of what can happen to a child. So many sick people out in the world.
Yet so much good and positive has come from this and maybe saved many other children from the same awful fate.
Hugs

Craftymoose Crafts said...

A very sad story indeed. This is one that is repeated all over the globe I am afraid. As a parent, I cannot imagine the pain they have and are going through and I admire their turning this into a positive by trying to help educate. I hope they get closure--even though it will be terrible, I feel not knowing is worse.

Debbie Shirley said...

Wow Shelle. Such a tragic story. My hear goes out to the family. The couple is truly inspirational. I hope they realize they are making a difference in a lot of lives. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Jan said...

A sad story, and an ongoing worry of parents everywhere. Unfortunately it is a story that began, and never ends. I came near to being abducted when I was about 12 years of age. I was walking home from the store, on the sidewalk. An elderly man drove slowly along side of me in his car trying to coax me nearer. I kept walking, and ignored him. Then an angel in a brown truck came along. It was a UPS driver. He told me to jump into his truck, and he took me straight home. The man in the car sped off, and was never found. I am now in my 60's. How long will this horrible crime continue to plague our children?
I went on to become a USPS employee for over thirty years until I retired. But there will always be a soft spot in my heart for the guys who drive the brown UPS trucks~~~

Magic Love Crow said...

Shelle, I have tears in my eyes! So sad! And, it also makes me so mad! I want to hit someone! I just don't understand, why this happens?? The family is so brave and it is so special for what they are doing! I send my prayers to them!

Linda in New Mexico said...

A parents worst nightmare. Wanting your children not to grow up in fear but live to be grown. It is so admirable and loving, the acts of kindness they have done is such a living tribute to their dear child. This makes me shiver and quake.
Thanks for sharing a sad but very useful story for us. Oma Linda

Jo Murray said...

The Morecombes are to be admired in their stoic and relentless search for answers to Daniel's disappearance. I hope this results brings some sort of peace.

Geckostone said...

Shelle this is so tragic, it chokes me up too. I'm glad you got to see this wonderful couple in person though. They are doing such a couragous and loving thing for the future of our children! Its so sad to realize we still have not evolved as a species beyond this madness.Thank goodness the Morecombes are bringing awareness to the world with their efforts and hopefully with all our loving thoughts and prayers we can stamp out such insanity!!! I love Jans story about the angel in the UPS truck! I was rescued by a Fed EX driver once too while hefting my luggage over a busy on ramp to catch a bus to the airport!Deb

Cameron said...

Makes me want to hold my little girl tight and never let her go.....

I am so sorry that tragedy had to be the reason for their plight....but I am so grateful to them for helping to make the world a safer place for all of our children......
:( So sad that it is necessary....

New End Studio said...

I look at his photo and wonder if his parents let go of the future plans he may have fulfilled, so very tragic. Their idea of a global hand signal for this, is excellent, hope they succeed. God bless to all involved.

Sunshineshelle said...

Thanks for commenting everyone, so sad to think a violent man ended not only Daniel's life but ripped a twin away from his brother, and his older sibling as well, shattering parents, grandparents, friends, the damage goes so much further than what the guilty person will ever be tried & convicted for in court.
Jenny, there were only a half dozen who went, part of the reason I wanted to write this post is their words & the safety message & good deeds the Morecombes do is worth passing on.
Amy, I bet it will help other's be aware, I think now people realise it's important to question adults approaching children if they are not theirs, report suspicious activity, take down a numberplate of a car hanging out where it shouldn't be, we all need to look after the innocent and give them skills to help them stay safe.
Debbie, it's unbelievable that these 2 have turned around & made it their mission to help others when hate & grief would have consumed most. Yes they want Danny back, not knowing, looking for him, must have taken a heavy toll.
Debbie Shirley, unbelievably tragic but they somehow are not going to let evil triumph and are determined to have Daniel live on, if even in the legacy of the amazing work they do through the foundation.
Jan, you did have an angel, someone that saw something that wasn't right & did something about it rather than turn a blind eye, what a wonderful thing he did, his actions are to be applauded, no wonder you have a soft spot for those 'brown UPS truck' drivers.
Stacy, It is so sad, and it does make me angry I can't believe so many saw him by the side of the road with a feral person nearby, just one decent person pulling up & calling out 'what's happening' may have changed Daniel's future, but then as Jan said, how long must this crime continue to plague our children, we need laws as well as the community to stop these pedophiles having easy access our future generations.

Sunshineshelle said...

Linda, yes no child deserves to fear each day, hopefully empowering them with safety tips & actions helps, it is the adults who need to take action so the child is protected not afraid... yes you are correct, that is an amazing tribute his parents have done, in that Daniel lives on.
Jo absolutely, do you know all the money raised goes into the safety programs , getting free literature & DVD's out, they don't even make people or schools pay postage for the requested items. The Morecombes spoke about how they have never had to use the money raised to hire a private investigator or anything, as the police, the homicide squad, ses volunteers have never given up, continued looking, community support & even local celebrity identities have given their time freely, so everything the foundation receives is able to go to the quest of helping victims & educating children and it's their way of giving back while people have supported their quest to find their son.
Deb, wow these UPS guys are sweeties, adding a little generosity & magic in their everyday routines & helping others in trouble, how wonderful!!!
Cameron, I know it's so hard to think that any/every child could be subject to a these monsters attention & even as the kid's get older the way they are tracked on Facebook etc is frightening, giving the children skills to empower without making them afraid - there are so many wonderful & beautiful things our children can & should safely be able to do, I think it is so wrong that any of these violent criminals are allowed back into society, GPS tracking is a good step, I can't see any of the lawyers that get them released would want them living next door to their families.
Hey New End Studio, thanks for calling by, the government (starting in Queensland) are apparently going to trial the hand signal which has been researched (so it's not confused with other signals including those used by the deaf) & consists of arms crossed above your head (or can be crossed in front of the body) & opening & closing of hands (sort of like flashing like an emergency car)... it would be used in a statewide campaign - sort of like how a hand signal is used if someone is in trouble in the water or at a beach to attract a lifeguards attention (which doesn't work on land as can be confused with a wave). Yes looking at his photo shows such a beautiful boy with so much ahead of him, just wrong anyone felt they had the right to take that away.

Mina said...

Oh Shelle, my heart bleeds over such needless horror. Each time I hear another missing child story I just have to wonder what the hell is wrong with these people? I cannot imagine how anyone could harm a child and believe there is no punishment harsh enough to fit the crime.

The Morecombe family are such remarkable people and I send all my thanks into the universe for such amazing warrior souls. Daniel will never be forgotten. Blessings to you, my sweet friend.

Sandra van Doorn said...

i remember this awful story; we lived in Australia for a while and i remember Daniel’s sweet face everywhere... this is any parents’ worse nightmare. like Mina, everytime a child goes missing i wonder who could possibly do that?
sending much love and peace into our universe,
sandra

Mary C. Nasser said...

What a sad and tragic story, but inspiring, too. My heart goes out to that family.

So glad I found your blog through the "All Kinds of Artists" Artist Blog Hop!
I am your newest follower! :)

I welcome you to check out my blog, too!
Best,
Mary C. Nasser
http://www.marycnasser.com/blog.html

lenoracle said...

Such a tragic tale, very heartbreaking. But so glad that some good can come from it, and that people can persevere through something that could destroy their lives and instead try to help others.

Sunshineshelle said...

Mina, thank you for your words, he will not be forgotten, his parents didn't allow it, and in doing so make the world a little safer & people more aware of the dangers that infest our communities.
Sandra, people who do that should no longer be allowed to live in any civilised community, they forgo their rights in harming an innocent.
Mary I am so pleased to meet you, and I am pleased that the Morecome's have inspired others, that's why I felt I had to post their story, it is a triumph of the love of a child over the evil someone has done to them.
Lenoracle, an hour ago the news came through that the bones & the shoes found are Daniel's. Please spare a thought for that family today, say a prayer if you can... although expected Daniel was not alive, it is devastating as any glimmer of hope that maybe Daniel survived, against all odds, has now come to an end, his parents & brothers have been given the worst blow. May the person that did this and others like them never be allowed to get an opportunity to harm a child again.

Magaly Guerrero said...

This is terrifying. And the fact that the monsters who do this look like everyday people makes the whole thing even scarier. We shouldn't have to be afraid for our youngs. One family shouldn't have to have gone through this. A boy should not lose his chance at being a man. It is not fair. It shouldn't be forgotten...

Pam of alwaysartistic said...

Shelle,

What a horrific story. I can't imagine the pain and safeness felt by his family. I hope the man responsible gets found guilty.

What a wonderful thing his parents are doing.

Pam