11 years after Queensland teenager, Daniel Morcombe, disappeared, his case has finally been closed. Yesterday, Brett Peter Cowan, a convicted sex offender, was found guilty of murder, indecent treatment of a child, and interfering with a corpse.
This morning, 44-year-old Cowan received his sentence of life in prison, with a minimum of 20 years before he is eligible for parole. The extended conviction was made after the trial revealed that Cowan had been previously imprisoned on similar charges. In 2011, Cowan admitted at a coronial inquest into Daniel Morcombe’s disappearance that he was an active offender from an early age, and had sexually assaulted up to 30 minors before the age of 18.
Daniel disappeared from a bus stop in Woombye in the Sunshine Coast on December 7, 2003. Brett Peter Cowan was arrested and charged in August 2011. Bone fragments, clothing, and shoes were found in a sandmining site in the Sunshine Coast two months later, and DNA testing found them to be a match with Morcombe.
In the wake of his disappearance, Daniel Morcombe’s parents started the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, which has assisted in introducing child safety into the Queensland schools’ curriculum. The foundation also established ‘A Day for Daniel’ and regularly visits schools to promote child safety awareness.
The sentencing of Cowan marks the end of Australia’s biggest missing persons case.