Daniel Morcombe inquest: Coroner rules Police response could not have prevented his death

The Queensland State Coroner has ruled the Police response to the disappearance of schoolboy Daniel Morcombe in 2003 was adequate and did not contribute to the teenager’s death.

But he agrees that more could have been done in the early stages of the investigation to focus on Brett Cowan, the man eventually jailed for his murder.

Findings into Daniel’s death have been handed down today, more than 15 years after the 13-year-old disappeared from a bus stop on the Sunshine Coast on his way to buy Christmas presents for his family.


The long-running inquest had been examining if and when Daniel had died and whether the Police response was adequate.

The inquest was delayed while Cowan faced trial in 2014 for Daniel’s abduction and murder before it resumed in 2016.

Coroner Terry Ryan ruled that Daniel was killed within an hour of being snatched by Cowan, and he was dead before he was even reported missing by his parents.

Mr Ryan says Cowan was the only person responsible and his death could not have been prevented by Police.

The Coroner found that Queensland Police have already made significant changes to protocols when it comes to missing children investigations.

He also says community awareness has been heightened thanks to tireless work of the Daniel Morcombe Foundation

The handing down of the findings brings to a close the relentless pursuit for answers by Daniel’s parents Bruce and Denise.

In a statement released before the findings were handed down, Bruce and Denise recognised the efforts of Police who extracted a confession from Cowan during an undercover operation.

“The repulsive pedophile’s callous description of what took place that day and what he did to our much loved Daniel is chilling to say the least.”

“His words have scarred us and will haunt us all forever.”

“Today, collectively as a family we move on but individually we never forget.”