Morcombe author: Cowan could have been caught earlier
TRUE crime author Lindsay Simpson spoke of her shock over the way police investigated Daniel Morcombe's disappearance during a book launch about his family's journey.
While father Bruce Morcombe was reluctant to berate police performance when they ultimately "got our man", Ms Simpson said she felt stronger about whether there were systematic failures.
"The fact that they had Brett Cowan in their midst within days of Daniel going missing and his criminal background and they didn't do any search warrants, I can't understand the reason for that," she said.
Ms Lindsay has spent the past two and a half years with the Morcombe family, sharing some of their most emotional moments from the funeral to the verdict convicting Daniel's murderer.
Mr Morcombe spoke of going through hundreds of emails and other correspondence, newspaper clippings and other media stories to ensure the book was accurate while Ms Simpson helped "massage" it into a reader friendly format.
The result is Where is Daniel? The Family's Story - a 610-page book with map, never-seen-before photos and safety tips - which was launched in Brisbane on Tuesday
"It's an emotional journey for them, it's also I think an anatomy of investigation because while they've done lots of media before and there's been lots of grabs and newspaper stories, (the book) really documents that journey," Ms Simpson said.
"After 10 years a lot of us would have given up, not to say we wouldn't have been grieving, but the fact that they got up every day and said we are going to continue - that yesterday is yesterday and tomorrow is tomorrow - that's all very well to say but when you read the book you really see.
"They've been incredibly candid in the book."
Mr Morcombe said the book highlighted parts of the investigation where they Morcombes felt police could have moved earlier but it was not for him to say there were faults in the way the case was handled.
"We got our man at the end of the day," he said.
"The police did an extraordinary job in finding that person, covert operations.
"There would be a number of questions that I'm sure police in their normal review process will ask on how this investigative team handed this particular job.
"We've certainly highlighter and demonstrated things we thought could have been done in a more timely way.
"But we're all smarter in hindsight.
"We don't want to be smug and say we told you so because that's not the case.
"Indeed we thought it was one of the other persons of interest more likely, Mr Cowan was in the mix at the pointy end.
"It was only with covert operation and watering down of his alibi that he was just exposed as a guilty person."
BELOW: The Morcombe's 10-year journey through our photos
The Morcombes said they did not think it was appropriate to write the book, despite being asked many times since Daniel disappeared while waiting for a bus on December 7, 2003, until they had "the final chapters".
Brett Peter Cowan was convicted of murdering Daniel, indecently dealing with him and then dumping his body on March 13 this year after a trial.
Mr Morcombe said it had taken "a hell of a long time" as he reminded people the book was not a crime novel, that it was his family's story, in chronological order.
"If somebody is buying this thinking we'll get the nitty gritty on all the behind the scenes investigative action, that is contained and that is the cornerstone of what's happened to us in the past 10.5 years, but the other half the book is very much a story of survival," he said.
"How the Morcombe family has survived, progressed, how our boys have grown, have steady jobs, girlfriends, engaged, purchased houses, looking forward to the future.
"It's also very much about how Denise and I have coped over that journey which has had its challenges like any relationship would, but we've stood the test of time."
Mr Morcombe said he hoped the book would help other people cope with tragedy if they could gleam insights into how to move forward.
He said people who picked up the book might be asking how they survive the dark days for tragic events in their own lives.
"It might be as simple as a their friend passing away too early, a neighbour moving away, a car accident, a medical condition," he said.
"Lots of things can cause grief for different people.
"It's very unlikely they will have the news their son was abducted and murdered but nonetheless it's a lesson for them, hopefully they'll be able to pick this book up and say I'm going to put one foot in front of the other even though I don't know where that's going to lead."
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd spoke in the book's foreword about the way the Morcombes could carry their own grief while helping perfect strangers.
He called on all governments, state and federal, to adopt the Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum as a "fitting testament to the life and death of this brave Australian boy".
"There are few people you meet in life who embody human courage, compassion and commitment like the Morcombes," he said.
"... at journey's end still being together when so many other families would simply have imploded. They are an example for us all."
Ms Simpson is the author and co-author of eight books. She