I’d never had any dealings with the police before I went to work for them, so to say I was nervous on my first day was an understatement. More so, I was grossly unprepared for what I would hear and see. Mum will tell you that I phoned her after my first week and told her “we’ve led a very sheltered life”.
My temporary contract became a change in career and I spent the following two years working the Major Incident Room of Operation Vista - looking for Daniel. I did administrative work to start with, and later intelligence; compiling information regarding persons of interest, their criminal histories and associates.
I retired after the Big Sister was born. Late in my pregnancy, I was working alone in the MIR one afternoon, when a Scenes of Crime Officer came in to use the space to photograph a small pink jumpsuit. I still don’t know what the circumstances were; it was unrelated to Vista, but I realised I no longer had the stomach for the work. My pregnancy had changed me. I went on maternity leave and didn’t return.
When I left, the crew chipped in and bought me a pair of wine glasses, inscribed with my name and the time I’d spent working in the windowless room that was home to the investigation for so many years.
Years later, not long after David died, I had a call from a colleague. He said he couldn’t talk, but he wanted me to know before I saw it on the news - he was walking to the watch house to charge Cowan with Daniel’s murder. After I hung up the phone, I laughed and sobbed in the same breath. We were all so heavily invested in finding justice for Daniel.
A jury of his peers found Brett Peter Cowan guilty of the murder of Daniel Morcombe this afternoon. More than ten years after he abducted Daniel from a bus stop on the Nambour Connection Road.
This afternoon, I dug that farewell gift out of the cupboard and tonight I’m using them for the first time to raise a glass:
in appreciation of the men and women who worked tirelessly in the pursuit of Daniel’s abductor.
in appreciation of their families and acknowledging the sacrifices they made, especially early in the investigation - the kid’s soccer matches, birthday dinners, anniversaries missed.
in appreciation of the the Morecombe family and their devotion to child safety since Daniel’s murder and for the dignity in which they have conducted themselves.